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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock rolls out Climate Action Plan

Author: Joey Bunch - July 17, 2018 - Updated: August 7, 2018

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consumerDenver Mayor Michael Hancock checks out an electric bike at Small Planet E Bikes on Santa Fe Drive in Denver last November. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock talked about it in his State of the City address Monday, and on Tuesday he unveiled Denver’s 80×50 Climate Action Plan to move the city to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

The plan provides strategies to address greenhouse gas emissions from three sources: buildings, transportation and electricity generation. The plan calls for the city to reduce its emissions by 80 percent over its 2005 levels by 2050.

“Reducing carbon emissions is a must,” Hancock said in his State of the City address. “Climate change threatens our people directly, putting our health, environment and economy – our very way of life – at risk.

“In 2015, we pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Denver 80 percent by 2050. Tomorrow, we will become one of just a few American cities with an action plan to get us there. We’re going to lead by example by moving our city facilities to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025, with a community-wide target of 2030.”

> Read it here: Denver’s 80×50 Climate Action Plan

Denver became the 73rd U.S. city, and the 10th in Colorado, to take the renewable energy pledge.

“This is a huge victory for Colorado,” Jim Alexee, director of the Sierra Club’s Colorado Chapter, said in a statement. “We are currently witnessing the catastrophic effects of climate change, illustrated by statewide droughts that are drying our rivers and sparking massive wildfires. With a commitment to 100 percent clean energy, our capital city is demonstrating that it is taking serious action on these issues. We look forward to working with city officials and our local partners to make this commitment a reality and to ensure that Denverites receive the greatest benefits through an equitable clean energy transition.”

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project served on the 80×50 task force and advocate for “strong energy efficiency and transportation electrification goals,” the Boulder-based organization said in an email to its supporters Tuesday.

“The plan sets bold goals for energy efficiency, renewable energy and transportation,” SWEEP stated. “The transportation goals include 40 percent of all cars in the city being electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 and 100 percent of cars, buses, taxis and rideshare vehicles electric by 2050. The plan also calls for the city to adopt EV-friendly building codes, provide EV charging at all city buildings, and commits the city to advocate for state policy changes including adoption of clean-car and zero-emission vehicle standards, as well as for expanded opportunities for utilities to support electric vehicle adoption.”

Will Toor, director of transportation programs, at SWEEP added Tuesday afternoon, “Mayor Hancock has laid out a bold vision for transitioning transportation from fossil fuels to a city where nearly all vehicles are powered by renewable electricity. There is a lot of work needed to achieve this vision, and we look forward to working with the city on EV-friendly building codes, public charging stations, partnering with Xcel Energy to expand charging access, and working with RTD to transition from diesel to electric buses.”

The Sierra Club provided statements of support from the Denver branch of the NAACP and the advocacy organization Colorado Working Families.

“Denver’s plan for a clean energy transition, while critical to defending our climate, is also necessary to protect our health,” said Dr. Jason McCarl, in a statement released by the Sierra Club. “As a local respiratory doctor, I’ve seen first-hand the damaging health effects of pollution from the production, transportation, and burning of dirty fossil fuels can have on our families. By transitioning Denver to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity, we’ll be ensuring a healthier community for generations to come.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.