Polis Administration Releases First-Of-Its-Kind Climate Preparedness Roadmap

Friday, December 1, 2023

Colorado is Advancing Climate Related Preparedness and Adaptation Action


DENVER - Today, Colorado released the first Climate Preparedness Roadmap, which focuses on ways to better understand, prepare for, and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and outlines actions the administration can take to protect Colorado’s future. The state also concurrently continues its nation-leading efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. The Climate Preparedness Roadmap was produced by the newly formed Governor’s Office of Climate Preparedness and Disaster Recovery through the passage of SB22-206, sponsored by Senate President Steve Fenberg and Representative Judy Amabile.


“In recent years, Colorado has seen historic wildfires and floods, and extreme drought that threaten our economy and our way of life. This roadmap will help guide the important steps Colorado should take to better prepare for increasingly frequent potential disasters and lessen their impact on our communities. Colorado is leading the way by establishing this kind of comprehensive analysis and actionable recommendations to ensure our state prepares for the changes that are already here and accelerating,” said Governor Polis. 


The report includes a first-of-its-kind analysis of climate risk in Colorado that aims to provide a better understanding of what climate impacts mean for the state and Coloradans while identifying actionable next steps that advance progress and better prepare Colorado for the future. The roadmap also will be regularly updated every three years to ensure continued progress. 


“Our climate is changing whether we like it or not, and Coloradans all across our state are seeing the increasingly destructive impacts of climate change firsthand, which is why we passed legislation to help communities prepare for and recover from the disasters we're sure to face," said Senate President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. "This Roadmap marks an important step in that effort, and will serve as a guide as we identify and mitigate future climate-induced disasters while working to ensure that Colorado families and communities are ready to respond when disaster strikes."


“The Marshall Fire is and will be a defining event in my life and legislative career. While our communities continue the recovery process, I’m proud that through SB22-206, and our creation of the Office of Climate Preparedness and the Climate Preparedness Roadmap, our state is investing its attention in better understanding the challenges that lie ahead, and working in a coordinated way across state-government to prepare for those challenges,” said State Representative Judy Amabile. 


Given the broad impacts that climate change will have, this roadmap worked to identify areas that deserve specific focus by the state. The roadmap describes several areas that deserve particular focus because of the risk they present, these include supporting the adaptation of Colorado’s natural systems and biodiversity, extreme heat, wildfire and drought-related efforts, compound hazards like post-fire flooding, and adaptation efforts to support agricultural producers and outdoor workers. Throughout all of these actions and across climate adaptation efforts, the disproportionate vulnerability of certain communities and populations is a guiding focus. In addition, actions supporting improved coordination and collaboration, education and technical assistance, Research and Integration into existing programs, and community-centered approaches were identified as types of actions to pursue. 


The newly formed Governor’s Office of Climate Preparedness was created to bring a focused, coordinated, and proactive approach to climate adaptation and preparedness, and increase disaster recovery capacity within the Governor’s Office. Following the devastation of the Marshall fire, the 2020 fire season and after-effects, and ongoing recovery efforts, state leaders identified the need for increased capacity and focus on preparing for future climate impacts.


“The impacts, and sometimes devastation, associated with climate change can feel challenging. But by better understanding Colorado’s specific climate future and focusing on achievable next steps - as this roadmap does - Colorado can identify its unique opportunities and a path toward a healthy and vibrant future, even in the face of a challenge as great as climate change. We’re very excited to get to work implementing this path with so many incredible partners across the state," said Jonathan Asher, Director of the Governor’s Office of Climate Preparedness and Disaster Recovery.