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Denver Releases Climate Action Plan with a Bold 2050 Goal

Plan Calls for 80 Percent Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Inclusive Engagement to Identify Strategies

Mayor Michael B. Hancock today renewed Denver’s leadership in the effort to prevent the worst effects of climate change by releasing an updated Climate Action Plan. The plan sets a long term greenhouse gas reduction goal to reduce emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 and calls for a robust stakeholder engagement process to identify strategies to achieve the goal.

Released during the opening remarks of the city’s first-ever Sustainable Denver Summit at the University of Denver, the plan is part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Climate change is an issue of global concern that impacts every aspect of our quality of life,” Mayor Hancock said. “We have a responsibility to do everything we can to preserve and protect our children’s future, and I believe establishing a long-term goal sets us on the right path.”

In 2013, Denver released the 2020 Sustainability goals, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below 1990 levels by 2020. The Climate Action Plan takes another bold step to set a goal that will impact generations to come.

"Panasonic is committed to a sustainable future. We understand the importance of reducing CO2 emissions in our operations and have made great strides toward this goal globally. Panasonic Enterprise Solutions, as a proud new corporate citizen of Denver, looks forward to introducing green and renewable technologies that can support the city’s sustainability goals,” said Jim Doyle, President, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company.

The approximately 40-page plan can be viewed here, and includes:

Recent data on current and future climate change impacts specific to Denver and Colorado:

  • Warming trend predicted to increase anywhere from 2.5 to 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050.
  • Increases in temperature further worsened by the urban heat island effect (extreme heat exacerbated by paved areas).
  • Increases in extreme weather events, reduced snowpack and earlier snowmelt, which will impact the availability of water for irrigation, recreation and consumption.

Identifies Denver’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Building energy use
  • Residential energy use
  • Land use & transportation

Identifies Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals:

  • Short Term Goal by 2020
    • Community (Citywide) Goal - Below 1990 levels by 2020, consistent with Denver’s 2020 Sustainability Goals, set in 2013.
    • Government (Denver City Government) Operations Goal - Reduce city emissions to below 3 percent contribution to 2020 community goal.
  • Long Term Goal by 2050
    • Community (Citywide) Goal – Reduce GHG emissions by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
  • Support local, state and federal legislation and commitments that positively impact GHG emissions:
    • Renewable Portfolio Standard
    • Clean Air Clean Jobs Act
    • Clean Power Plan
  • Identifies potential strategies for achieving short and long term GHG goals. 
    • Increasing energy efficiency in the building sector (Building Energy Use)
    • Maintaining or strengthening Renewable Portfolio Standard (Energy Supply)
    • Continued implementation of federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. (Transportation)

Developed by Denver’s Department of Environmental Health in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, the plan includes the latest climate science, including current and future impacts on Denver. It was developed after a thorough review of 350 strategies, activities, and best practices from more than 30 cities locally, nationally and globally. Additional input was gathered through a community engagement process.

The release of Denver’s Climate Action Plan follows on the heels of Mayor Hancock signing on to the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of leaders who have pledged to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and Denver’s Sustainable Denver Summit, a gathering of more than 250 government, industry and community leaders committing to take steps to address Climate Change.

For more information or to view Denver’s Climate Action Plan as well as the Climate Adaptation Plan, visit For more information about the Sustainable Denver Summit, visit