New Report Details Impact of Significant Community Climate Action in 2019 – City of Boulder

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Boulder achieves 21% reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions

BOULDER, Colo. — The City of Boulder announced today that the latest greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) inventory shows a 21% reduction in emissions since 2005. According to the report , these emissions reductions occurred while the Boulder economy grew significantly over the same period, demonstrating that climate action and efforts to boost the local economy can happen in tandem. Boulder seeks to achieve an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050.

The City of Boulder has long offered programs and services aimed at reducing community emissions, and the report demonstrates the progress generated by these efforts. City of Boulder programs that help residents and businesses reduce their energy use and divert materials from the waste stream, coupled with increasingly cleaner electricity and improvements in automobile efficiency, largely drove the emissions reductions.

Key 2019 city and community accomplishments include:

  • Installation of more than 14 megawatts of residential and commercial solar, bringing our local solar to more than 44 megawatts. This represents enough installed solar in Boulder to power about a quarter of Boulder households.
  • Participation of 125 residential units and 100 businesses in city-supported efficiency programs, reducing energy usage by more than 3 million kWh and emissions by 1,800 metric tons.
  • Recycling and composting 50% of Boulder’s waste.
  • Construction of 14 new net zero homes.
  • Increased electric vehicle sales by 25% over 2018.
  • Reduction of city operation emissions by 40% since 2008, driven by a 64% reduction in wastewater emissions, bulk solar purchases and building efficiency improvements.
  • Launching new initiatives focused on ecosystems, carbon sequestration and circular economy.

“We should all be proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. As we look to the future, we must recognize that the climate emergency is an existential threat to our community and economy,” said Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer Jonathan Koehn. “While reductions in GHGs are important, we can’t lose sight of the other forms our climate action should take, including preparing our community to build back stronger from the pandemic, advancing equity and transforming our energy and economic systems in ways that benefit us all. This will require bold steps and leadership from each of us.”

Top sources of Boulder’s emissions include electricity generation (44%), transportation fuels (29%) and fossil fuels (e.g. natural gas, propane) used for heating and industrial processes (25%).

Inventory History

The city has published inventory reports since 2005 as a way of measuring progress of emission reduction initiatives funded by the Climate Action Plan tax. The annual GHG inventory allows the city to track and regularly update the community on progress toward those goals.

Boulder’s inventory follows the Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emissions, which is the required protocol for the city’s  Global Covenant of Mayors  commitment. For the 2019 inventory, Boulder followed the BASIC level reporting categories, which will allow Boulder to compare its progress and emissions trends over time to other cities around the world.

More details are available on the city’s Boulder Measures Dashboard for community-wide and city organization emissions.

Learn more about the city’s efforts to address climate change at

Media Contacts

Lauren Tremblay, Sustainability Analyst, 303-441-3452

Emily Sandoval, Media Relations, 970-210-1225

Posted Oct. 5, 2020


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