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Hey ya'll...Did you miss me? No? Well, too bad: City Council is back and so am I. Buckle up, #Boulder.

Well, maybe not until next week. Tonight is just a study session on the city's climate strategy and retail health.
Some very interesting notes on this for council. The retail study, in particular, was *packed* with facts. Expect a robust Twitter feed tonight.
We're getting started. The Young Women's Voices for Climate is here, in costume. As what, I can't tell, but I earlier heard them rehearsing a song about the climate crisis set to the tune of "Can you feel the love tonight?" from the Lion King.
Apparently it's a medley, bc they're starting with a climate-themed version of "What's Love Got to Do With It?"

I recommend you tune in to this at home. Channel 8 or live-streamed online or YouTube.
These kids are actually pretty cute and impressive. The future is female! And wearing hand-made costumes!
I mean, have YOU ever seen a wind turbine costume, with a song-and-dance routine to match? Yeah, I didn't think so.
Jones: "Maybe we should have our staff do council packets like that."
I support this.
OK, now getting down the business.
The city adopted its climate goals in 2016, including the generation of 100MW of local solar, 100% use of renewables for energy by 2030, and an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Given the advancements at the state level this year, plus new, more urgent global reports, it's time for a check-in on how the city should move forward.

Council might consider passing an emergency resolution about tackling climate change.
"Just six years ago," senior environmental planner Brett KenCairn says, "we were having a conversation about whether or not climate change was happening, and if we were going to do anything about it."
Pretty full chambers, which is notable for a study session, which doesn't give opportunity for public participation.
Some things Boulder needs to consider in its approach is that reducing emissions will no longer be enough to "avert climate catastrophe" (per staff's notes to council: carbon capture is required.
Also, “A focus on just community-level emissions is insufficient." Boulder will also have to take into account those that happen outside city boundaries.

And yet, in 20 pages of notes to council (minus attachments), not one mention of land use policy or housing.
Quick reminder of Boulder's progress on climate goals: (Sorry for the all caps, I copied and pasted from the staff presentation, which you can find here:
EMISSIONS REDUCTION: 16% (Goal: 80% BY 2050)
RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY: 28% (Goal: 100% BY 2030)
LANDFILL DIVERSION: 57% (Goal: 85% by 2025)
Back to the issue of a city-centric approach. Per staff notes: “Cities effectively adopted a nation-state model of climate action in which the focus of action and measurement of success were based on achieving emission reduction targets confined to ... municipal boundaries.”
Boulder assumed that it would “put pressure” on other cities, states and nations. But less than 8% (43) of 600 cities have “ambitious” targets and are making progress, according to Carbon Disclosure Project. Only 14 cities have carbon neutral goals; 5 have 100% renewable goals.
To be clear, it wasn't just Boulder that felt pressure would be put on cities, states and nations.
On the positive side, Colorado passed a lot of state legislation during the last session: More than 12 new laws. A list:
House Bill 19-1231 - New Appliance Energy and Water Efficiency Standards
House Bill 19-1260 - Building Energy Codes...
... Senate Bill 19-077 – Public Utility Implementation of an Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Program
Senate Bill 19-239 – Addressing Impacts of Changes Related to Commercial Vehicles
House Bill 19-1159 – Modifications to the Income Tax Credits for Innovative Motor Vehicles..
...House Bill 19-1198 – Powers and Duties of the Electric Vehicle Grant Fund
House Bill 19-1298 - Electric Motor Vehicle Charging Station Parking
Senate Bill 19-096 - Collect Long-term Climate Change Data
Senate Bill 19-181 - Protect Public Welfare Oil And Gas Operations....
...Senate Bill 19-236 - Sunset Public Utilities Commission
House Bill 19-1003 - Community Solar Gardens Modernization Act
House Bill 19-1261 - Climate Action Plan To Reduce Pollution
House Bill 19-1272 - Housing Authority Property In Colorado New Energy Improvement District...
... and House Bill 19-1314 - Just Transition From Coal-based Electrical Energy Economy
Perhaps the most important of these is HB-1261, which codifies emissions reduction goals as state law (tho without enforcement, penalties):
• 26% reduction by 2025
• 50% reduction by 2030
• 90% reduction by 2050
"Decarbonizing our electric utility is still our biggest goal," says Jonathan Koehn, senior climate policy manager, because it is still the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
"There are two questions of any action we're committed to as a city that's intended to contribute to stabilizing climate," says Steve Catanach, Director of Climate Initiatives:
1. Does it drive systems change?
2. Can it be rapidly scaled and replicated?
"How do we make changes that apply to everyone, that work for everyone?" Catanach says. The sustainable choice has to be the easiest, or only, choice, for ppl. And everyone has to share the costs.
Catanach: We need to focus on "changing the rules," not people.
He is using building electrification (switching out appliances that use natural gas for ones that use electricity) as a concrete example. Boulder was one of the first cities in the west do start on this path, following NYC and Burlington, Vt., Boston, D.C.
"It wasn't in any way perfect, bc of course that's what Boulder is good at: We innovate" so others can follow, Catanach says. "We increased adoption" of heat pumps by over 300%. (Small numbers.)
"We were successful, but not at the scale necessary to make change."
. @CassaMN informs me that it has been Brett KenCairn speaking. Apologies! I need to look up from my computer once in awhile. All white guys sound the same to me.
Back to electrifying homes: It's really expensive. $38K per home, on average. So to do 20,000 homes in Boulder = over $1B.
This goes back into the need for regional efforts. Per the staff memo (edited slightly for length):
“Many major climate change drivers are controlled/managed at scales larger than cities—energy generation, grid management/utility regulation, fuel standards; product design and specification, carbon valuation/pricing, transportation policy, large-scale infrastructure investments"
What's not in there, as you might have noticed: land use/housing policy.
"We need to recognize we aren't the center of this," KenCairn says. "We need to mobilize at all levels and in all sectors. Our role is to help inspire, coordinate and facilitate."
Boulder has drafted a "letter of intent" for organizational partners to sign, including NCAR, Shell, Boulder Chamber, Ball, Via Mobility, BVSD, CU, etc.
"One thing that's missing is the people," Morzel says. Suggests neighborhood groups, the Sierra Club, etc.
"I know you're saying we can't change people," Morzel says. "But we still need to change people. Systems can't be the only thing."
One of the organizational partners is Shell, as in the oil company. KenCairn addressing why: "We have to have all parties in this game." We've demonstrated to oil & gas co. that if you don't take proactive steps, we will. "We're suing some of them."
Staff is going to launch a public engagement effort, and bring back plans to council for adoption in Spring 2020. An info-packet will be distributed this fall with some updates, too.
"There is a remarkable capacity of resilience built into the land, us and our community," KenCairn says. "We have to bring that forward."
Some contextual info, not directly in this packet but still helpful: Earlier this year, staff said it needed $4-$5M extra per year to meet climate goals. www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/Revenue_a…
Boulder currently spends 6% of its general fund budget on climate initiatives, more than human services (5%) or parks and rec (3%).
Council is beginning to discuss. Weaver suggests upping Boulder's goals to meet the state's, 90% emissions reduction by 2050. Informal consensus.
Weaver: "There's a financial systems piece to this: who we bank with, who our insurance is with."

Talking about banking with institutions that "fund pipelines" and other oil and gas endeavors.
Boulder has discussed that in the past, but I believe the consensus was it is too expensive to change. Weaver wants to include those pieces into the language about systems change. "We need to be thinking about other pieces that we do biz with. Every leverage point possible."
Wanted to provide a source for the budget numbers above: This very handy staff presentation on the budget, which everyone should save and review regularly. www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/Revenue_a…
Morzel: "I understand where you want to go. But I do have some concerns."
Only 7,000 of 20,000 rental units in Boulder are SmartRegs compliant (deadline was December 2018).
Morzel: My point is I hope we don't stop doing what we're doing. That's the sense I got. We have 7,000 homeowners who made their houses energy efficient and paid for that; I would be hoping we are going to enforce the other 13,000 who are not compliant.
Elizabeth Parr corrects that, saying 93% of 23,000 rental units were compliant in December. The 7,000 represents how many needed to make improvements through the city; others already met SmartRegs without needing any changes.
Morzel: "I'll say the word: Demolitions." We're not addressing them, she says.
"We have net zero goals, but when somebody builds a great big new house, we don't have a fee for embodied energy," Morzel says. "We should be looking at fees when ppl are scraping housing or building new houses with materials that are new."
Kara Mertz: Those issues will be addressed in the building code update for 2020. (Read more here: boulderbeat.news/2019/04/21/bou…) Embodied energy won't be included just yet bc there aren't established best practices.
Morzel's first reference to straw bale/adobe houses! Just over 1 hr into the meeting.

Mark your bingo cards, Boulder.
Also wants to see more thought/action on air conditioning (and how not to use it) and reducing meat consumption. "We can't just talk about it."
Last Morzel concern: "Diverting our time from the muni, which is where we get the biggest bang for the buck in carbon reductions."
OK, NOW Catanach is talking: "The fight continues, as you know. I really don't see this as detracting; I see it as complimenting."

While I and council were on vacay, Boulder filed for condemnation: dailycamera.com/2019/06/28/bou… (@CassaMN was clearly not on vacation.)
Brockett had some brief thoughts. So brief, I missed them. Sorry, @AaronBrockett12!
Jones: What I see us doing here is adaptive management: Trying stuff, seeing how it works and revisiting it. "In general, what you've laid out makes a lot of sense. I do feel we are at a historic moment where Boulder and BoCo ppl are playing leadership roles. The time is now."
Likes staff's focus on equity and how to balance costs/impacts.
Carbon sequestration piece is "one of the frontiers. It feels like people are just trying to figure that out." But issues are how to scale and use existing "apparatus" to move it forward (USDA, etc.)
Jones: "Idk if I'm supposed to say it, but I'm going to say it."
Apparently a hearing of some sort related to climate stuff is going to be in Boulder....? People are clapping. Must be a big deal. I feel like I already heard this somewhere...
July 31-Aug 1 ish, apparently.
Jones: "This is the right work to be doing. We have a window to accelerate these efforts."
Now Carlisle is up with her thoughts: Agrees with Morzel about keeping the focus on the muni, "since that's the main thing. But these others can help in the mean time."

Also wants to revisit Boulder's banking partners, as Weaver suggested.
Carlisle: "I think it would move us forward in a big way. I know there was reticence on staff's part. But this is important. It's a place where we could move and make a difference."
Nagle: Biggest thing beside the "fantastic job" staff did, "we are so fortunate that we taxed ourselves and have this open space. We have all this ag land" that provides a "huge opportunity" to capture carbon. "As much as we can move that forward, I say go, run."
Yates: "I think the most important word I heard tonight is replicable. If no one follows you, you're not a leader. We have to be looking at systems, not individual parts of this. We have to do it in a way other cities, states can do what we're doing."
We're a wealthy community; we have opportunities to do things. But we have to be careful. Boulder is less than 1-1,000th of 1% of the population of the earth.
"We have to do something that ppl in Loveland, Cleveland or Mumbai can look at and say, 'That's cool, that's economic, that's impactful.'"
Probably a not-so-subtle jab at the muni there. That is a criticism he's made in the past: That it's not leadership since no one is following us.
Young asking for "the best" and "most current" information on the muni before a vote of the people. And that it's run through this proposed lens of climate action plan. How does it fit within that framework?
Updates will be coming in the fourth quarter of this year, which will be made public. (I think this is related more to operation than the cost of acquisition; those numbers will come through the condemnation process).
Young asking for more details on city's goals vs. Xcel's (100% renewable by 2030 vs. 80% by 2030) What's the difference in tons of carbon, etc.?
What the state and Xcel are doing is "laudable," Catanach says. "It does take us forward" significantly. "What it doesn't do is that local control, and that ability to decentralize our system."
PUC is going to be updating rules around distribution systems. Boulder is going to be participating in that process.
Another part of muni is revenues and "our ability to reinvest" back into the system. "That won't change as the state moves forward. Ultimately, it really comes down to a community conversation. How valuable is that to the community?"
Some council thoughts on which organizations/stakeholders should be including in the letter of intent / partnership agreements and other engagement on this issue:
Brockett: We have amazing, smart, talented and passionate people in this town. Let's make sure we're engaging those individuals.

Somebody is *clearly* running for re-election... :)
Weaver suggests including farmers in the discussions on carbon sequestration and food issues; biz community should be engaged for the innovation and emerging technologies piece.
"We're not going to be at the center of everything," KenCairn says.
"But hopefully we can make connections," Catanach adds.
Jones: "Getting the private sector jazzed to step up to the plate is going to be key."
Weaver: Biz community, which I'm part of, is responsible for 70% of electricity-based emissions in our community.
Needs to be better engagement with them, bc their emissions are not declining.
Now we're talking about a potential declaration of a climate emergency.
"A Declaration of Climate Emergency is a resolution passed by a governing body such as a city council, a county board of supervisors, a state legislature, or even a national government. It puts the government on record in support of emergency action to reverse global warming."
• Boulder has passed a number of similar Resolutions previously.
• 740 jurisdictions in 16 countries have declared a climate emergency.
• Some, but not all include binding actions
• Typical resolutions include setting up a process to develop an action plan and report back
Great map in the presentation of cities that have declared climate emergencies. Canada is kicking our ass.
All the U.S. cities who have done it are on the east and west coasts. Plus somewhere in way northern Minnesota.
Apparently it's this place: lcnewschronicle.com/news/science-a…
No resolution tonight. It will happen at some point, though.

And that wraps the climate discussion. @threadreaderapp, please unroll. Thanks! New thread coming for retail study.
I know I already wrapped this, but I'm going through the attachments in the council memo and found some interesting numbers.
Boulder's per capita CO2 emissions (in metric tons): Today, 2.26
In 2005 (the baseline for reduction goals): 3.16
2020 goal: 2.25
2050 goal: 0.5
Vehicle Miles Traveled: 2.49 million (I'm assuming in the City of Boulder; it doesn't say)
2005: 24.6 million
2020 goal: 2.32 million
2050 goal: 1.59 million
OK, it *does* say in the footnotes: Those are VMT for the Boulder Valley.
I have now read through the 20 pages of attachments to the council memo on the climate action plan. Not one single explicit reference to land use policy as part of a climate strategy.
Here's why this matters: Because it is a growing awareness among many that urbanization can create sustainability by reducing per-capita carbon emissions, mostly by eliminating the need for cars.
From the (nat'l) Sierra Club: "An essential strategy for reducing urban related carbon emissions is supporting dense, mixed-use communities and land uses that prioritize walking, biking or transit to meet daily transportation needs, as well as balancing jobs and housing…
"...If we make communities not only dense, but inclusive, then fewer people will have to drive till they qualify for housing financing, saving even more emissions."
The city's climate strategy notes, at 41 pages, including exactly two vague references to land use policies/housing/development:
1. As part of the community engagement plan for 2020-2030, one of the action items was to “facilitate public-private strategies for large-scale infrastructure redevelopment (residential, commercial)"
2. In an update of climate commitment targets, one of them was Complete Neighborhoods. Boulder has 26% complete neighborhoods. The goal is 80% by 2030. (See this article on complete neighborhoods for reference.) strongtowns.org/journal/2018/2…
Also, for more references to the growing movement to tie climate change and land use policy, see my story on the Raucous Caucus. There are a few good paragraphs in there about it: boulderbeat.news/2019/06/18/to-…
And if you thought I was done with this thread, you were wrong: here are some more interesting numbers I found in the attachments (which I ideally like to read *before* the meeting, but this one was just a slog to get through since it had so much data).
RE: specific climate goals
Plug-in electric vehicles: 1.45% of all registered in Boulder (2005 baseline: 0%; 2020 goal: 5%; 2050 goal: 28%)
Some contextual data from my previous reporting:
28% of the city's emissions are from transportation;
44% of those emissions are from vehicles registered here
There are 64,751 registered vehicles in the city of Boulder
EV and alternative fuel vehicles: 10% of all registered vehicles (2005 baseline: 2%; 2020 goal: 15%; 2050 goal: 75%)
New purchased plug-in electric vehicles: 3.24% (no goals yet)
Total BEV (battery EV) and PHEV (plug-in hybrid): 1,417 (no goals yet)
There are 206 charging stations in Boulder: 48 city-operated and 158 not owned by the city. Just 2.2% of public EV charging stations are solar-powered.
NOW I'm done with this thread. I hope you found it illuminating.
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