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Denver One of 88 Global Cities Named as Climate Leader on CDP 2020 A List

  • Denver is named one of 88 cities to score top grade on climate action by environmental impact non-profit CDP.
  • This year’s A List shows major progress in climate action and transparency since the signing of the Paris Agreement, demonstrating that impactful and urgent action is possible:
    • Only 61% of cities on this year’s A List disclosed their environmental data to CDP in 2015.
    • In 2015, half of the cities on the 2020 A List (44/88) did not report GHG emissions reduction targets. Today, they all report targets and 38% (33/88) aim to reach net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.
    • Cities have also made progress on building resilience to climate change. In 2015, only 30% (26/88) of the 2020 A List cities were reporting plans to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The City and County of Denver has been recognized by CDP as one of 88 cities across the globe that continue to lead on environmental action despite the pressures of responding to COVID-19. These cities, representing a combined global population of almost 125 million, reported their environmental data to the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System in 2020.

Designed to drive and support cities to ramp up their climate action and ambition, CDP’s A List is based on environmental data disclosed by hundreds of cities in 2020. To score an A, a city must have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target, published a climate action plan, and completed a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards now and in the future, among other actions.

“Addressing climate change is one of the most crucial challenges of our time,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Denver is leading the way through the Climate Action Taskforce and the creation of the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency. And with the passage of Measure 2A, we will have the opportunity to take aggressive steps to tackle climate change here at the local level, with equity at the center of that work.”

The cities on this year’s A List demonstrate that impactful and urgent action is possible. Although almost 40% of cities on this year’s A List did not disclose to CDP in 2015, they have all ramped up their climate action work, setting ambitious emissions reduction targets and building resilience against climate change. In so doing, Denver and the other 87 cities have earned the title of climate leaders.

In 2020, through a deliberative process with Mayor Hancock and Denver City Council, Denver created the Climate Action Task Force and the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency. The Climate Action Task Force engaged experts, community, and business stakeholders to create equity-centered recommendations detailing proposed goals, programs, policies, and funding mechanisms to guide and support the City’s climate work.

One recommendation, a measure to create the Climate Protection Fund, was included on the 2020 ballot (Denver Ballot Measure 2A), and successfully approved by the voters on November 3, 2020. The Fund will support a wide range of high-impact actions such as new jobs in the clean energy sector, neighborhood-based climate justice programs, and energy efficiency and sustainable transportation projects.

Five years since the Paris Agreement was signed, the latest climate science tells us that global emissions must be halved by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change. Emissions need to decline faster, and all cities need to act. Even as we fight the coronavirus pandemic, and as the U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, Denver is committed to ambitious climate action.

To learn more about the City’s climate work visit denvergov.org/climate. The full CDP’s 2020 A List cities is available here.

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About Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency
Mayor Michael Hancock and the Denver City Council created the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency to manage the City's ambitious emission reduction goals and sustainability programs in collaboration with fellow departments, other units of government, and community partners. The office ensures that the City's targets are aligned with current climate science, promotes the role that climate action and sustainability play in strengthening Denver's economic vitality and a prosperous future for all residents and businesses, and embraces equity as a value and practice in all of its work. 

About CDP
CDP is a global non-profit that drives companies, cities and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Voted number one climate research provider by investors and working with institutional investors with assets of US$96 trillion, we leverage investor and buyer power to motivate companies to disclose and manage their environmental impacts. Over 8,400 companies with over 50% of global market capitalization disclosed environmental data through CDP in 2019. This is in addition to the hundreds of cities, states and regions who disclosed, making CDP’s platform one of the richest sources of information globally on how companies and governments are driving environmental change. CDP, formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, is a founding member of the We Mean Business Coalition. Visit https://cdp.net/en/cities or follow us @CDP to find out more.

In response to local and regional governments calling for a simpler reporting process, the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System was launched in April 2019. In that same year, over 830 cities disclosed compared to 43 in 2011 when Cities disclosure began. This steep increase reflects the growing number of cities taking action to lead the transition to a resilient, net zero future.