What They’re Saying Following Release of Climate Preparedness Roadmap

Friday, December 1, 2023

DENVER - Today, the Polis administration released the first on-its-kind Climate Preparedness Roadmap that identifies ways Colorado can better understand, prepare for, and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and outlines actions the administration will take to protect Colorado’s future. The report looks at risks facing Colorado specifically and how the impacts of climate change will affect the future of the state. 


Here is what leaders, experts, and organizations are saying about Colorado’s action to better prepare for the future impacts of climate change:  


"The completion of Colorado's first-ever climate adaptation-focused roadmap by the Office of Climate Preparedness and Disaster Recovery is a huge milestone, underscoring the state's proactive stance in preparing for and addressing our climate challenges. This vital work not only signifies a commitment to resilience but also exemplifies Colorado's leadership in taking tangible steps towards an adapted, sustainable and climate-ready future," said Ben Livneh, Associate Professor, CU Boulder and Director, Western Water Assessment, a NOAA CAP/RISA Team. 


“We know that climate change is impacting Coloradans and the state’s rich wildlife resources in substantial ways.  The Climate Preparedness Roadmap is an important step in approaching these impacts proactively to ensure a future where people and nature thrive,” said Carlos Fernandez, Colorado State Director, The Nature Conservancy.


"It's exciting to see the Polis administration building on its efforts to combat the impacts of climate change. The Climate Preparedness Roadmap does an excellent job identifying and prioritizing the most impactful actions that must be implemented in the future if we are to ensure that the most vulnerable communities are not subject to further environmental injustices,” said Luke Schafer, West Slope Director, Conservation Colorado. “While efforts to reduce emissions are critical, we must strive to have a more equitable Colorado and this means creating resilient systems that help communities across the state alongside the lands, waters and wildlife that make our state unique and beloved."


Jeri Curry, Executive Director of Marshall ROC-Restoring Our Community, the Marshall Fire long term recovery group said “We are encouraged by the efforts of the Governor and the Office of Climate Preparedness and Disaster Recovery and their commitment to coordinating a multi-stakeholder and community level approach to wildfire mitigation and adaptation actions. The need to prepare for, and help to prevent, future catastrophic wildfires in Colorado is urgent.”


“Increasing our resilience in the face of climate-driven stresses and hazards is a major challenge. I’m excited for our state’s leadership in this arena and applaud the Governor’s office for tackling the challenge of improving coordination across various state efforts and with partners across Colorado,” said Courtney Schultz, Associate Professor of Forest and Natural Resource Policy, CSU and Director of the Climate Adaptation Partnership. “We look forward to continued partnership and work together as we collectively draw upon our strengths to build a climate-resilient future for Coloradoans.”  


"Colorado has undertaken a monumental effort to engage communities statewide and coordinate action across agencies to address our climate challenges. Colorado now has a data-driven roadmap to build climate preparedness over the next critical few years. The commitment to revisiting this plan every three years shows that Colorado is serious about tracking progress and updating strategies on climate adaptation over time. This plan represents a strong step in the right direction," said David Rojas-Rueda, MD, MPH, PhD, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology, Colorado State University, CDPHE Environmental Justice Advisory Board Member. 


“The roadmap marks another great step for Colorado partners and our great outdoors,” said Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Executive Director Jackie Miller. “Its focused, forward-thinking approach to climate adaptation will help inform Colorado’s Outdoors Strategy, a regionally rooted, statewide vision and action plan for conservation, recreation, and climate resilience,” said Jackie Miller, Executive Director, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).


“This roadmap represents a proactive approach to the critical work of helping our communities adapt to climate change and become more resilient.  It reflects the best-available science and data to inform management scenarios that are going to make Coloradoans better prepared for our future.” said Jennifer Balch, Associate Professor of Geography, CU Boulder and Earth Lab Director, fire ecology researcher.


“It is inspiring to see the State of Colorado take action and invest in projects like the Climate Preparedness Roadmap. Risk to communities—from hazards such as wildfires, floods, and drought—has grown substantially in the past decade. It is critical to apply the best science, evidence-based practice, and resources to prepare for, mitigate against, and adapt to the changing environment,” said Jennifer Tobin, Assistant Director, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado Boulder. “This Roadmap is building the foundation for a safer and more sustainable Colorado.” 


“Acclimate Colorado, a health and climate initiative of the Colorado Health Institute, is honored to have partnered with the governor’s Office of Climate Preparedness and Disaster Recovery in the release of the state’s inaugural Climate Preparedness Roadmap,” said Karam Ahmad, Director, Acclimate Colorado, Colorado Health Institute. “The roadmap and its implementation signal a crucial step in advancing climate adaptation to safeguard Coloradans from the pressing impacts of climate change. These actions, led by state agencies, alongside the collaborative efforts of the Climate Preparedness Office, will lead to tremendous progress toward the preparedness and protection of Colorado’s communities.”


“Climate change is a real and growing threat to Colorado. We are experiencing longer and more severe heat waves, increased severity of wildfires, changing streamflows, and increased water stress all around our state. As someone who has helped document climate vulnerability and impacts on agriculture and other ecosystems, I believe we need to both respond now to current conditions and prepare for the continued changes that are projected over coming decades. This is why I am so excited to see the Governor and his team develop a climate preparedness roadmap for our state. Thinking ahead on a statewide level can help us adapt effectively, safeguard our communities, reduce risks to businesses and livelihoods, and protect the ecosystems and natural areas that are so important to all of us,” said Peter Backlund, Associate Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability. 


"The focused climate adaptation information in this Roadmap will help inform the Colorado Resiliency Framework update in 2025. Given the scale of the challenge, our partnership grows the state's capacity to foster a more resilient Colorado," said Anne Miller, Director of the Colorado Resiliency Office in the Colorado Department of Local Affairs


“Cities have unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to the impacts of the climate crisis, and Denver is proud to work hand in hand with the State of Colorado to ensure our communities are climate adaptive, resilient places where all Coloradans can thrive,” said Elisabeth Cohen, Adaptation and Resiliency Manager with Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency.