Last December I shared 22 climate wins in 2022 that the Climate Action Collaborative (CAC) and our partners achieved. For brevity, I’ll spare readers from a list of 23 climate wins in 2023. Instead, here’s a highlight from each month, focusing on local actions taken in Eagle County to meet our goal of 50% emissions reduction by 2030 and 80% reduction by 2050:
The CAC launched a Regional Climate Solutions group, bringing together partners from across the Western Slope to build capacity and position our region to receive federal funding. The group meets monthly and has supported over $1.4 million in grants for energy efficiency projects across Colorado. We’re excited for everything this group will accomplish in 2024!
Darren Parry, former chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, was the presenter at February’s Climate Speaker Series. Darren’s talk focused on indigenous viewpoints and solutions to climate change. His talk challenged the audience to steward the environment, stay active, and stay engaged. The 2024 Speaker Series begins on January 11th with Beatriz Soto presenting: Colorado Latino Climate Justice.
In March, the CAC convened a group of land managers from across the County to learn about carbon sequestration practices they utilize on their land. The results of the focus group are included in the report: Advancing Natural Climate Solutions through Private Land Partnerships authored by CU Denver graduate student Allie Schima. The report identifies private land in Eagle County that can support carbon sequestration projects and offers best practices for building working relationships with landowners.
Walking Mountains and the CAC held our second annual Climate Action Week in April. We partnered with 15 community partners to host 23 events that reached over 1,400 people.
Highlights included sustainability trivia, a high school sustainability fair, and ECO Transit fare-free day. Mark your calendars for Climate Action Week 2024: April 15-21!
The Climate Action Collaborative held our annual EV & E-Bike Ride ‘n Drive at the Eagle Library in May. The event featured EV and e-bike test drives, an EV 101 workshop, and delicious burritos! We’re excited to host the Ride ‘n Drive again in Eagle this May. Details are forthcoming, but we’re sure that this year’s will be the best yet!
The excitement around electric transportation continued in June when the State of Colorado announced massive point-of-sale rebates on e-bike purchases. If you meet income qualifications, you can receive up to $1,100 off the purchase of a new e-bike from participating retailers. Visit the Colorado Energy Office's website to learn more about the Community Access to Electric Bicycles Rebate Program and to see if you qualify.
In July, the Climate Action Collaborative and Walking Mountains donned our finest flannels and largest belt buckles to attend the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo. The CAC was on hand to share how attendees could save money via energy efficiency and electrification. Walking Mountains ensured that the Rodeo was a zero-waste event by diverting over 5,800 pounds of recycling and compost from the landfill, totaling over 75% of the total waste produced!
The CAC spent the summer months presenting the Eagle County EV Infrastructure Plan via a roadshow that wrapped up in August. The Plan outlines steps that must be taken to install close to 1,000 new public EV chargers in Eagle County, so we can meet our goal of over 13,500 EVs on the road by 2030. The CAC and its partners have been diligently working on the strategies outlined in the Plan and are excited about the progress already being made!
The Climate Action Collaborative released its Impact Report in September, sharing the progress made in 2022 towards achieving the priority actions found in the Eagle County Climate Action Plan. While we’re proud of the work our Collaborative and its partners have done, including a 66% increase in EVs, a 72% increase in organic waste diverted, and 170 home energy assessments, there is still a lot of work to be done. We look forward to sharing 2023’s successes in next year’s Impact Report.
Vail hosted this year’s Mountain Towns 2030 Climate Solutions Summit in October. Over the course of two days, community leaders, resort officials, and industry partners shared ideas and collaborated on solutions to get mountain towns to net-zero emissions by 2030. At the keynote, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Patagonia President Jenna Johnson spoke about the work they’re doing to reduce emissions and inspired the audience to act on their own emission reduction goals.
After a year of consensus building, the Eagle County Building Codes Cohort wrapped its work up, helping the Towns of Avon, Basalt, Minturn, Eagle, and Vail adopt new building codes, including the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code and supporting amendments. The 2021 Codes make new buildings about 9% more energy efficient than the previous code and save homeowners more than $2,000 over the lifetime of the building. This effort was led by the CAC and will be continued into the new year with a process to roadmap our communities to adopting net-zero new construction building codes.
On December 4th, the CAC held one of its bi-annual Stakeholder Meetings. These meetings are used to update stakeholders on our work and often have an inspiring guest speaker. At the meeting, Will Toor, the Executive Director of the Colorado Energy Office, spoke about the State’s progress towards meeting its own goal of 90% emissions reduction by 2050. We left the meeting feeling inspired and are grateful for Will’s leadership on climate action in Colorado!
This holiday season, we’re thankful for all the amazing work being done by our community to reduce emissions and create a more sustainable and resilient Eagle County. Have a peaceful holiday season and a happy new year!
Will Barror is the Climate Action Collaborative Coordinator at Walking Mountains. The Climate Action Collaborative is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Eagle County 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.