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Julie is a junior studying Geophysics and Public Policy at the University of
Though climate change is a global problem, the impacts are felt on the local
scale; it follows that the solutions must come at the local level. Surprisingly,
many cities and municipalities are implementing climate mitigation (or climate
action) policies and programs. However, they face many procedural and
institutional barriers to their efforts. Krause (2011) propounds that a common
institutional obstacle local governments face is lack of expertise or data
necessary to formulate comprehensive climate action plans, conduct greenhouse
gas emissions inventories, or monitor and evaluate progress toward their goals.
To this end, thirteen in-depth case studies were done of successful model
practices ("best practices") of climate programs carried out by various cities,
counties, and organizations in Colorado, and one outside Colorado. Research was
conducted by going to each city or program's website; reading annual written
reports, documents, and community guides; corresponding with the respective
program managers, administrators, and city officials; and following up with
phone interviews with these individuals. The information gathered was then
compiled into a series of reports containing, for a climate action plan, a
narrative description of the plan; an overview of the plan elements (targets or
goals); implementation strategies and any indicators of success to date; and the
adoption or approval process, as well as community engagement efforts and
marketing or messaging strategies. For other types of programs (energy
efficiency, renewable energy, transportation and land use), the report featured
a more detailed description of the program components (including target audience
and implementation mechanisms) and more detailed indicators of success (such as
GHG emissions reductions and cost-effectiveness in the form of quantitative
data, if available).
Between the thirteen case studies, there were a wide variety of approaches to
implementing local climate action programs, ranging from commercial, apolitical
and economically motivated to environmentally oriented and government-regulated.
Furthermore, this benchmarking exercise affirmed the conventional wisdom
summarized by Pitt (2010), that peer pressure (the presence of neighboring
jurisdictions with climate initiatives), the level of community engagement and
enthusiasm, and most importantly staff members dedicated to the area of climate
planning have a significant effect on climate mitigation policy adoption.
Julie's summer research poster,
Approaches to local climate action in Colorado, may be found here (1MB).
Besides climate policy, Julie's other research interests include solar
variability, air quality, climate dynamics/climate theory, physical oceanography
and the carbon cycle. She enjoys yoga, reading, hiking and movies.|