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Vail and Eagle County have joined with seven other Colorado communities, from large to small and east to west, to push for more action to tackle climate change at the state and federal levels through an organization called Colorado Communities for Climate Action, or CC4CA.
CC4CA is this state’s first consortium to represent municipalities and counties in advocating state and federal actions providing the authorities with tools and policy frameworks that communities need to reduce heat-trapping emissions to meet local climate-protection goals and help stabilize our climate.
The nine local governments serving as the founding members of CC4CA are Eagle County, Town of Vail, Boulder County, City of Fort Collins, City of Boulder, City of Golden, Pitkin County, San Miguel County and City of Aspen. On the day of its launch, the coalition already represents one-ninth of all Coloradans. Other local governments are considering joining the coalition and those numbers are expected to grow.
Vail environmental sustainability manager Kristen Bertuglia says formation of the CC4CA is groundbreaking. “As climate change poses the most serious threat to our environment and economy, we also have an historic opportunity. Vail has adopted greenhouse gas emissions goals in effort to mitigate our environmental impact as a resort community. However as communities collaborate and support policy change at local, state, and federal levels through the Coalition, we will have much greater success in achieving more significant reductions in carbon.”
Eagle County Commissioner and board chair Jeanne McQueeney agrees. “Our recently updated environmental policy statement includes a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from county operations 5 percent per year, to achieve a 50 percent reduction by 2030. Now, we need a better, more effective framework of state and federal climate policies that support our efforts. Our local actions should be part of a coordinated, overall approach to climate change.”
Other advocates in CC4CA include:
Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones – “Colorado has so much at risk from extreme weather, drought, and wildfires that we need to do more at every level of government to protect our public health and safety, environment, and quality of life. This new coalition will unite the voices of counties, cities, and towns to bring about the policies and support we need from the state and federal government so we can take care of our local communities and local residents.”
Jackie Kozak Thiel, chief sustainability officer for the City of Fort Collins – “Fort Collins has some of the nation’s most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals in the country, and we will be more successful as a region with state and federal support. We can make a difference to build resiliency in our communities if we collaborate to align action and policies, as well as share best practices with other jurisdictions and learn from each other.”
Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones – “The best way for local governments to achieve change at the state and federal levels is to work collectively to promote a shared policy agenda supported by many communities. This type of collaboration provides much greater influence than any of our individual governments would have on our own.”
CC4CA is guided by a steering committee comprised of representatives of member local governments and administered by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, a nonprofit group with 12 years of experience working with Colorado local governments on climate change policy. The coalition has retained Frontline Public Affairs to represent it before the General Assembly and other state and federal offices, and is reviewing proposals from law firms to represent it before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
The coalition’s website is cc4ca.org.