In October 2008, representatives of several local governments decided to form a new network to support their climate and related programs, and asked the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, an existing nonprofit organization, to administer the network. In May 2009, the mayor of Denver, the mayor of Fort Collins, and the executive directors of the Colorado Municipal League (CML) and the Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) announced a new Colorado Climate Network to support local climate programs in Colorado. (The mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper, later went on to become the current governor of Colorado.)
The mission of the Network is to support efforts by local governments and allied organizations in Colorado to reduce heat-trapping gases and to adapt to climate change – whether those efforts are styled as climate, sustainability, energy, or adaptation programs. The Network helps its members develop and implement those programs, learn of funding and other resources, and interact more productively with other local and state programs in Colorado. The Network is open to members with established local programs as well as those just getting their programs underway.
Members of the Network include any general-purpose local government in Colorado wishing to join. Also, any nonprofit or for-profit organization that is allied with a local government in cooperative action on climate, is nominated for membership by such a local government, and is approved by the Network Steering Committee may join.
The Network works cooperatively with other organizations serving local governments. The Colorado Municipal League and the Colorado Association of Ski Towns have officially endorsed the Network.
The Network is administered by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and is guided by a Steering Committee of representatives of members. The Network’s principal services are the information and opportunities for interaction it offers to its members. Initial services being offered by the Network include:
A pioneering project, the Local Resilience Project, which is bringing together representatives of local governments across Colorado (both Network members and others) to develop an agenda to improve the resilience of local communities and resources to climate change.
Information about grants and other funding opportunities for local programs. An example is this Network Update summarizing the elements of the federal stimulus legislation that provides billions of dollars to local climate and energy programs.
Information about state and federal actions relevant to local climate actions. RMCO has a lobbyist who will keep network members informed about actions in the Colorado General Assembly; the Network itself, however, is not currently expected to lobby the state or federal government on behalf of any Network positions, although a decision could be made in the future to do so.
Workshops and other opportunities to learn from experts and interact other Network members. An example is a Network workshop held at the Governor’s Energy Office in December 2009 for local governments in Colorado receiving direct, entitlement grants under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.
The services provided by the Network will grow over time. It is currently expected that the Network’s additional services will grow to include:
A clearinghouse of resource materials, including comprehensive and detailed information on local climate change risks in Colorado and state and local climate action programs in Colorado (and examples from elsewhere).
Development of new information and materials on climate change in Colorado. A pilot is a report prepared by RMCO for the City of Fort Collins, a Network member, on trends and projections of extreme heat in that city.
Promoting, coordinating, and providing assistance to sub-state regional cooperative efforts among local governments to address climate change in Colorado.
For more information on the Network, including information on becoming a member, see this document. For questions, contact Tom Easley, the director of programs at the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization.