The City of Boulder created a poster to share the goals and outcomes of their TEX collaboration at the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting. Click here to download the poster!
Developing Capacity for Cities to Adapt to a Changing Climate–a Case Study in Boulder, Colorado
The City of Boulder in Colorado has undertaken many progressive climate-related initiatives, from signing the Kyoto protocol to passing a Climate Action Tax. But as the city prepared to launch its Climate Commitment document and lead a community process, it realized that one critical group that had not been fully engaged in the process was its own staff. It became clear that for organizational change to occur and for the city to meet its goals, city staff needed to develop a deeper understanding of the importance of the climate goals while also learning better how to use these goals to guide their long-term planning.
In early 2016, the city launched a year-long “Climate Leaders” initiative which comprised of a series of workshops that brought together over 70 staff members with climate scientists and experts in climate adaptation planning. The first two workshops, billed as Climate 101 and 201, reviewed the best available scientific information about climate threats and potential impacts, and worked with participants to understand how climate changes could affect diverse city functions. These interactive workshops also explored ways to help city staff feel comfortable preparing for a significantly different climate and discussed ways to communicate this information to the public.
From there the group split into two tracks. A “mitigation” track focused on the ways in which Boulder could meet its aggressive emissions reduction targets. The “adaptation” track developed integrated scenarios for citywide planning to highlight Boulder’s vulnerability to climate change and guide adaptation planning.
Bringing these two conversations together is helping city staff to explore critical linkages between mitigation and adaptation, develop common messages to build community support for climate action, and inform comprehensive climate resiliency planning.
We will describe how Boulder successfully partnered with scientists and planning experts to program a year of interactive workshops to bring diverse city staff into the climate action process. We will share outcomes from the development of the integrated climate scenarios vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. Lastly we will share key lessons learned that will be valuable to other cities and jurisdictions engaging in similar climate action.