The Routt County Commissioners voted on a resolution today to adopt the Routt County Climate Action Plan. The Routt County Climate Action Plan is a joint project between the County, the City of Steamboat Springs, and the Towns of Hayden, Oak Creek, and Yampa.  The plan provides a menu of options for partnering governments and stakeholders to select and implement strategies and tactics to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in support of climate action and targeted levels.   The County and its partners will need to allocate funding on an annual basis to implement the Climate Action Plan. Funds for implementation will go through the County’s regular budget process. Budgeted dollars will help to leverage grant funding.

“We fully support the County’s adoption of the Climate Action Plan.  This plan focuses on reducing our emissions and illustrating that we have a role to play in protecting our future. We are stepping up and doing our part and we encourage every other community to replicate our policy and implementation ideas in our plan. The only way to address climate action is work together on tangible solutions,” said Tim Corrigan, Chair of the Routt County Commissioners.

The Routt County Climate Action Plan (CAP) was developed in support of sustainability efforts which seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), in accordance with the GHG Study, and the State of Colorado’s goals and efforts. The CAP was developed to provide project partners and stakeholders with a menu of options (the CAP Strategies, Actions, and Tactics) which when implemented will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) towards identified targets in alignment with partners’ goals.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation Climate Plan, “Colorado has warmed substantially in the last 30 years and even more over the last 50 years. Future estimates project temperatures rising an additional 2.5˚ F to 5˚ F by 2050, meaning the warmest summers from our past may become the average summers in our future. With increasing temperatures come shifts in snowmelt runoff, water quality concerns, stressed ecosystems, and transportation infrastructure, impacts to energy demand; and extreme weather events that can impact air quality and recreation. The challenges we face will affect everyone and require collaborative solutions.

Studies show that climate change and public health are linked. Public health can be affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems and resulting increase of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events or wildfires. Disruptions can also lead to changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health and general well-being resulting from potential economic impacts.

While natural climate variability is beyond human control, greenhouse gas emissions and land use change are partly within human control. Colorado House Bill 19-1261 includes statewide goals to reduce 2025 greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26%, 2030 greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% and 2050 greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90% of the levels of greenhouse gas emissions that existed in 2005. In addition, the State has gone through a comprehensive strategic planning process relying on the framework of the “Four Disciplines of Execution” including assisting communities in developing climate action plans with a goal to help make Colorado communities environmentally, economically, and socially resilient.

Routt County partnered with the City Steamboat Springs to update the GHG Inventory, last updated in 2005. The inventory reports and compares data and trends between 2005 and 2018 and examines expected levels of GHG’s projected to the year 2050. The Climate Action Plan is the next step needed for coordinated, collaborative work on climate action on the part of Routt County, Steamboat Springs, Hayden, Yampa, Oak Creek, and other local stakeholders.

The total cost of the Routt County Climate Action Plan was $70,000. The City and County each contributed $22,500 and the County received a $25,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for the project.

The City of Steamboat Springs is planning to vote on the Climate Action plan in their session tonight.

Important Links:

Routt County Climate Action

Resolution draft

Routt County Climate Action Plan