Climate Resiliency and Adaptation

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What is a Climate-Resilient city?

Climate change is here and is expected to speed up. Cities around the world are already feeling the impacts of climate change. Denver is not alone in facing increasing risks due to a hotter, drier region.

Climate resiliency is a new way of planning for disasters and climate change, allowing cities to:

  1. Respond to and recover from climate-related disasters and hazard events,
  2. Adapt to climate changes, and
  3. Transform the systems that make the community vulnerable to climate changes

Denver completed its first Climate Adaptation Plan in 2014. Denver’s key climate risks are:

  • Extreme heat
  • Increased intensity of extreme weather
  • Decreased air quality
  • Increased drought and water scarcity

Climate resiliency is a smart investment for Denver. Using the Climate Protection Fund, Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) is working to increase Denver’s climate resilience by investing in Denver’s climate-vulnerable neighborhoods and communities.

Check out the interactive story map below to explore Denver’s climate vulnerability at the neighborhood scale.

Vulnerability to Climate Change in Denver

What does a Climate-Resilient Denver look like?

If we are successful at creating a climate-resilient city, Denver will:

  • Withstand and recover from extreme weather events and storms.
  • Be prepared for existing and new climate risks.
  • Provide residents, businesses and visitors with access to the information they need to stay safe and economically strong.
  • Use less energy and have fewer vehicles while growing economically and providing jobs and homes for our residents.
  • Attract residents and businesses with clean, sustainable economic growth.
  • Promote strong social connections between neighbors.
  • Residents will be active in local decision making.
  • Eliminate pockets of high vulnerability concentrated in communities of color, low-income, or environmental justice communities.

Denver will achieve these outcomes while maintaining the unique character that makes our city great.

Investing in Climate Resiliency

City Council Bill 20-6084 created the Climate Protection Fund (CPF). The bill lists six categories of allowable uses, including: Adaptation and resiliency programs that help vulnerable communities prepare for a changing climate.

The purpose of the CPF is to cut greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in Denver as quickly as possible. CASR is also investing CPF dollars to increase Denver’s capacity to absorb, adapt and transform in the face of climate change. Most of the funding for climate resilience will directly benefit people of color and Indigenous people, low-income households, people living with chronic health conditions, children, older adults and others most impacted by climate change.

Increasing Denver’s resilience to climate risks is at the core of CASR’s approach. Climate change will hit Denver’s most vulnerable community members the hardest. CASR will focus on resiliency investments in communities most vulnerable to climate change. Also, CASR will identify needs and strategies in partnership with climate-vulnerable residents.