Hannah Miller350 Colorado joined with a broad diversity of climate change movers at the action-oriented Colorado Climate Summit Nov 15-16 at CU-Boulder. CO Climate SummitHere is coverage of the summit from one of our members, Hannah Miller, with 350 Ft. Collins (writing for the Bay-Area-based sustainability blog TriplePundit):  

Colorado is a hotspot for energy innovation: The city of Fort Collins is pushing the envelope with a net-zero energy central district. The Rocky Mountain Institute has been generating schemes for energy efficiency and clean energy for 30 years. And the city of Boulder has more solar panels than some states.

All of these were featured programs at the first-ever Colorado Climate Summit, held on the campus of the University of Colorado last weekend in the middle of – you guessed it – the unusual weather event of an early blizzard. But the mood wasn’t self-congratulatory — it was urgent. Hopeful, but urgent. Efficiency and solar panels on roofs aren’t enough, warned one clean energy expert.

“We have to look at both sides of the meter,” said Leslie Glustrom, pointing at a chart of Boulder’s carbon emissions that, despite tremendous work and city effort to reduce carbon emissions, showed marginal gains. Glustrom pointed out that Boulder is still dependent on coal plants. “If you took that offline it would be like taking 150,000 homes off the grid,” she said.

“Utilities are standing in the way of the clean energy transition,” warned Glustrom, because the inertia is too strong — they must be pressed via local government into transitioning to renewables. Boulder itself is taking matters into its own hands, and since voter approval in 2011 has been developing its own publicly-owned utility.

Colorado climate activists of all stripes came to the summit to talk about ‘both sides of the meter;’ it is unavoidable to think about supply in a state facing massive fracking development, as well as traditional oil and gas.  Writer and publisher Robert Castellino founded the sponsoring organization Climate Colorado earlier this year after going through the Climate Reality Project’s international leadership program (which has now trained leaders in Brazil, South Africa, Australia and elsewhere.) The summit also included discussions on youth, growing environmental literacy, the climate’s impact on aging, diversifiying and internationalizing the climate movement and more.

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