While Denver was one of the first major U.S. cities to recognize the potential threats and broad-reaching impacts of Climate Change and has worked hard to begin to act and adapt, there remains much work to be done.
Denver’s recent actions addressing climate change are bold.
Denver’s 80x50 Climate Action Plan In late July 2018, Denver released the final 80x50 Climate Action Plan, which commits the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 2005 baseline levels by 2050. Councilwoman Kniech was able to participate in the development of Denver’s 80×50 plan, which strategizes the decarbonization of three sectors most responsible for our greenhouse gas emissions: buildings, transportation, and electricity generation. Cities generate more than 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and Denver’s Climate Action Plan demonstrates Denver’s leadership in combating climate change.
In October 2018, City Council approved adjustments to Denver’s Green Building Ordinance which implements the options passed by voters for green roofs and solar but adds credits for reducing the energy use of poorly rated buildings. The revised ordinance will increase the overall positive climate impacts of the ordinance.
57% of Denver’s harmful Greenhouse gas emissions come from large buildings. In 2016 Councilwoman Kniech participated in the process to create ENERGIZE Denver, which requires all large commercial and multifamily buildings to annually assess and publicly report their energy performance. This simple requirement has already resulted in a 4.5 percent energy use reduction by the 1,161 buildings reported in both 2016 and 2017, saving owners and tenants $13.5 million in 2017. See the 2018 report here.
Although Denver is acting boldly on climate, there is more to be done.
The Electric Vehicle (EV) commitments outlined in Denver’s 80X50 plan require investment in our city’s electrical infrastructure so we can expand our fleet of electric vehicles.
Councilwoman Kniech will continue to advocate for environmental justice and equity in the City’s conversations and actions on climate change. No neighborhood should have to disproportionately endure the effects of Climate Change, and we must support workforce training and job standards to ensure all workers can smoothly transition to good quality, green jobs.