Duty of Denver
The 23rd most populated city in the United States has renewed a commitment to being an environmental leader amongst major metropolitan cities.
In late June, the City and County of Denver, Colorado, led by Denver's Department of Environmental Health, unveiled a 90-page plan of short, medium and long-term strategies aimed at adapting to climate change.
In 2007, the city was one of the first to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"While cities across the globe are all experiencing the impacts of climate change, every city is unique. We have a responsibility to protect our city and our way of life," says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. "It is our goal that this adaptation plan will benefit current and future Denver residents by ensuring that Denver is resilient in the face of climate change."
A specialized committee within the city government identified key impacts to Denver based on compiled data. Included was the urban heat island effect-heat radiating off of asphalt and cranking utilities cause warmer temperatures then in surrounding countryside. Also projected is an increase in extreme weather events which project Denver to have 88 extreme heat days by mid-century versus the historical average of 9. Lastly the data pointed to a reduced snowpack and earlier snowmelt which will affect water availability.
Having identified the pertinent issues, the committee then developed the short, medium and long-range strategies to combat the potential problems. Those strategies include:
Expanding energy efficiency programs to enhance building comfort and save energy thus maintaining the longevity of the energy grid.
1. Updating building codes to ensure future buildings and renovations are more efficient and environmentally friendly.
2. Ensuring efficient use of water and protection of water quality by maximizing building efficiency, promoting water conservation and using green infrastructure.
3. Expanding a commitment to renewable energy which helped Denver become the first Solar Friendly Community in Colorado.
4. Maintaining the urban tree canopy which helps to offset the urban heat island effect.
5. Adding health and human services in extreme weather events, such as cooling centers.
6. Implementing a citywide Emergency Management System to track the progress of these strategies.
To learn more about Denver's plan, visit the city's web site.
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