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Resident questions Climate Emergency Declaration implementation

Longmont's Climate Action Task Force dissolved after giving recommendations to council, but city says regular reports and community input meet spirit of declaration

A resident raised issues this week with Longmont’s handling of its Climate Emergency Declaration.

Ethan Augreen questioned the implementation of the 2019 declaration, which called for a climate working group to create a report outlining concrete steps to address the climate emergency and report updates quarterly thereafter. The Climate Action Task Force has not met since 2020, according to the city’s website.

“Longmont's failure to follow through on implementing the simple terms of the climate emergency declaration is unacceptable,” Augreen said in a release. “Either the climate emergency declaration was empty virtue signaling and there is no real climate crisis, or the city is negligent in addressing the emergency.”

Longmont Sustainability Manager Lisa Knoblauch explained via email that following the Climate Emergency Declaration, a Climate Action Task Force was appointed and met over six months — COVID extended the initial 120-day deadline — to develop the Climate Action Recommendations Report. City council approved the report in 2020.

“The Climate Action Task Force members themselves voted to dissolve once the report was completed, and recommended that the existing Sustainability Advisory Board be responsible for reviewing progress made toward the goals and recommendations in the report,” Knoblauch said. “Council determined that biannual reports, integrated into the existing Sustainability Plan reporting process and reviewed by the Sustainability Advisory Board, were sufficient and staff has been following that direction since 2021.”

The reports developed by staff are reviewed by the Sustainability Advisory Board before it is presented to city council biannually, including the update presented this past Tuesday.

Augreen pointed to the need for non-staff subject matter experts, partners and concerned residents — including those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change — to be part of the discussion.

Knoblauch pointed to a number of opportunities for members of the public to voluntarily do just that, like the Sustainability Advisory Board, the Longmont Sustainability Coalition and the Equitable Climate Action Team.

Augeen additionally called for the council to reconvene the climate working group with quarterly reporting or an alternative action to strengthen the city’s climate resilience. However, Knoblauch said to do so would require direction from city council to reconvene the task force.

Amy Golden

About the Author: Amy Golden

Amy Golden is a reporter for the Longmont Leader covering city and county issues, along with anything else that comes her way.
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