US Climate and Health Alliance

Climate Adaptation Plan – City and County of Denver


In 2007, Denver unveiled its Climate Action Plan and set a greenhouse gas reduction goal to reduce emissions by 10 percent per capita below 1990 levels. Denver is on track to meet this goal and continues to be proactive in reducing city-wide per capita emissions. However, the planet is warming and the resulting effects have the potential to harm Denver’s social, economic, and environmental sectors. Along with mitigation practices aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Denver must address and prepare for the impacts of climate change already occurring and those projected to occur, in order to prosper in the future. Supplementing Denver’s Climate Action Plan, the Climate Adaptation Plan offers collaborative strategies to adapt to a future climate with higher temperatures, more extreme weather events, and changes to annual snowpack. Denver recognizes climate change as a defining issue of the 21st century and remains committed to facing the challenges of a changing climate through preparedness, forward thinking, and cost-effective strategies. Denver strives to not only be one of the greenest cities in the nation, but also one of the most innovative and climate resilient cities in the face of rapid climate change. The objectives of the Climate Adaptation Plan are to prepare, mitigate, and plan for risks associated with the following potential climate impacts to Denver: 1. An increase in temperature and urban heat island effect; 2. An increase in frequency of extreme weather events; 3. Reduced snowpack and earlier snowmelt.Denver’s Climate Adaptation Plan visions to provide a collaborative path forward to prepare for a hotter climate, protecting what we cherish. Denver’s Climate Adaptation Plan was prepared with the following values understood: The City and County of Denver is preparing for a hotter and more variable climate. The Plan provides a collaborative path forward to prepare for these climate changes, protecting what we cherish so future generations will enjoy a quality of life characterized by economic opportunity, parks and open spaces, recreational activities, and an environment conducive to support residents’ health and well-being. The focus of this Plan is to identify adaptation strategies within Denver City agencies and community organizations that will lead to future adaptation efforts Denver can implement. Successful implementation of the Plan supports a vibrant Denver that is resilient to climate challenges and continues to prosper as a world-class city where everyone matters. Long-term planning and coordinated implementation are needed to address the social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change impacts on Denver. In response, Denver convened a working group made up of A resilient community will be able to enjoy economic opportunity, parks, open spaces, recreational activities, and an environment conducive to support resident’s health and well being. department representatives in spring, 2012 to begin assessing the impacts Denver may face as a result of a changing climate. In coordination with City agencies, the working group identified Denver’s top vulnerabilities to climate change. These were used as a framework to establish short, medium, and long-term climate adaptation activities. These activities will allow Denver to reach its long-term vision to be one of the most innovative and resilient cities in the face of climate change. The short, medium, and long-term activities are categorized by sectors throughout the Climate Adaptation Plan. The sectors refer to broad planning areas that will be affected by climate change impacts. The sectors used in the Climate Adaptation Plan are: buildings and energy, health and human services, land use and transportation, urban natural resources, water consumption, and food and agriculture. Each sector is facing different impacts from climate change and can adapt in different ways. Systematically examining which climate impacts affects each sector helps identify where climate adaptation action is most needed, allowing Denver to create forward-thinking and cost-effective adaptation strategies.

Resource Type
Denver Environmental Health
Resource URL
Denver Environmental Health
Great plains
Climate action plans

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