The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners approved the county’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) on Dec. 20. Jefferson County’s Climate Action Plan will address greenhouse gas emissions and help the Jefferson County community adapt to the effects of climate change. The Climate Action Plan can be viewed here.
“We have a single mission: to protect and hand on the planet to the next generation. Today, I am excited we are finally putting the “action” in the Climate Action Plan. This Plan wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of our Sustainability Commission and former Commissioner Casey Tighe who saw the need and continued to keep this important issue at the forefront of the county’s mind,” said Commissioner Andy Kerr.
Community input was key in the development of the county’s first-ever Climate Action Plan. As part of the outreach, all county residents and stakeholders were invited to share input on their priorities and experiences in a community survey. The county also hosted two virtual open house community meetings and the draft plan was made available for public review and comment in November.
“The Jefferson County Sustainability Commission is extremely proud to have worked alongside community members, county staff, and local organizations to produce an historic and impactful plan for Jeffco. This equity focused CAP is just the first step we need to take to address climate change and we look forward to leading the implementation of many of the climate solutions that are being recommended to ensure that our county continues to thrive for generations to come,” said Jefferson County Sustainability Commission member Jeff Wong.
The Jefferson County Sustainability Commission raised funds to pay for the plan’s development. Throughout 2021, many businesses and residents donated to a special fund hosted by the Community First Foundation. Fundraising is now ongoing for future implementation.
Jefferson County's updated Hazard Mitigation Plan shows Jefferson County’s two most frequent and devastating hazards are wildfires and flooding, both of which are exacerbated by rising temperatures. These impacts pose a great risk to infrastructure, public health, and the economy. Even under a moderate 2050 climate scenario, Jefferson County is expected to experience $880 million in annual flooding and fire damage.
This number could increase to $1.25 billion under a more severe climate scenario (Colorado Water Conservation Board, Future Avoided Cost Explorer).
The Climate Action Plan is intended to address these risks by developing solutions to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to rising temperatures, and to help the community become more resilient to the hazards and risks.
"We want to leave the earth in better shape for our children and grandchildren,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper. “A laser-like focus county-wide on sustainability is not only good for our community and public health, but it’s good for our local economy and can help save taxpayer dollars. Many Jeffco businesses and cities also are leading the way on sustainability efforts.”
Taking action will not only help Jefferson County’s community members, but also contribute to statewide efforts to address Colorado’s climate risks.
“For us to succeed, all parties will need to be moving in a common direction. We will need to establish or build upon existing collaborative partnerships with other jurisdictions, businesses, industry, and community-based organizations. I’m looking forward for our communities to pull together resources and expertise as we begin to move forward addressing this very important issue,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Tracy Kraft-Tharp.