But the West’s climate is changing.
More heat. Less cold. Less snow. Less water. More drought. More wildfires.
We are working to protect the West and its climate, by changing attitudes and bringing about actions, in the West and beyond, to reduce heat-trapping pollution and to prepare for the changes that are coming. That will help keep the West such a great place to live, work, and play.
Our July newsletter is now online.
RMCO and the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report, Doubled Trouble: More Midwestern Extreme Storms, which documents how much heavy precipitation has increased in the Midwest and links that increase to the devastating floods that have hammered the region, especially in recent years. New RMCO analysis of a half century of precipitation data across the Midwest shows that large storms have become more frequent, with the largest of storms—those of three inches or more of precipitation in a single day—having more than doubled over the past 51 years.
On May 7, 2012, RMCO released a fact sheet, Projected Climate-Change Impacts on Colorado Water, which summarizes in graphic form the results of two recent studies, the Colorado River Water Availability Study Final Report and the Joint Front Range Climate Change Vulnerability Study. Together, they provide the best information yet on how climate change may affect Colorado water supplies in 2040, representing projections for 2025-2054. The studies present the results from five climate models used for both reports.
On January 19, 2012, RMCO submitted joint comments to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study that it is in the process of compiling, on behalf of RMCO and some of the participants in our Water Adaptation Steering Committee—representatives of the National Wildlife Federation, the Colorado River Water Conservation District, Denver Water, and the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado.
On December 8, 2011, the Colorado Climate Network, which is administered by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, held its second annual conference for Network members and others. The focus of the conference was how to communicate the case for local climate action. See the separate Network website for details and presentation materials.
On September 27, 2011, RMCO and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition released a report, Greater Yellowstone in Peril, detailing the particular threats that a changed climate poses to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, parts of six national forests, and more. Already climate-driven changes are being observed throughout Greater Yellowstone in the form of hotter temperatures (especially in summer), massive declines of whitebark pines, more widespread and extreme wildfire, and other threats to plant communities and wildlife.
On July 13, 2011, RMCO and the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report, Great Lakes National Parks in Peril: The Threats of Climate Disruption, documenting how national parks of that region are already feeling the impact of climate change in the forms of rising temperatures, decreased winter ice, eroding shorelines, spreading disease, and a crowding out of key wildlife and plant life.
On June 15, 2011, RMCO released an updated Colorado Climate Scorecard summarizing the implementation status of the the Colorado Climate Action Plan announced by Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. in November 2007 and the 70 recommendations made in October 2007 by the blue-ribbon Climate Action Panel convened by RMCO in its Colorado Climate Project.
On May 17, 2011, RMCO released a wrap-up of the the 2011 legislative session of the Colorado General Assembly, which concluded May 11. Some important gains were made on new laws that could benefit climate action, and several bills were defeated that would have set back gains made in previous sessions.
On November 10, 2010, RMCO and the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report, Acadia National Park in Peril: The Threats of Climate Disruption, detailing how a climate altered by human activities may affect the first national park east of the Mississippi River. New climate projections done for the report show that before the end of the century Acadia could become as hot as Atlantic City, New Jersey, historically has been.
On October 26, 2010, RMCO and the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report, California’s National Parks in Peril: The Threats of Climate Disruption. The report details how climate disruption could affect ten national parks in California. If we do not limit emissions of heat-trapping gases, before the end of the century Yosemite National Park would become hotter than Sacramento historically has been. Temperature increases of this magnitude would have far-reaching impacts on Yosemite, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and Redwood national parks, and more of California’s most special places.
On September 23, 2010, RMCO submitted testimony to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission asking it to work out with Xcel Energy and key stakeholders the details needed to achieve at least the reductions in heat-trapping gases identified in Xcel’s proposed plan to comply with a new state law requiring the replacement with cleaner power of a certain amount of power now generated by older coal-fired powerplants.
On September 1, 2010, RMCO and the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report, Virginia Special Places in Peril: Jamestown, Chincoteague, and Shenandoah Threatened by Climate Disruption. The profile details how Jamestown, the site of the first permanent European settlement in what became the American colonies and the United States, may be lost to rising waters of the James River, pushed higher by rising seas and tidal waters. Likely climate-change Impacts to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Shenandoah National Park are documented, too.
On July 21, 2010, RMCO submitted comments to the Colorado Water Conservation Board on its draft Colorado River Water Availability Study Phase I, on behalf of RMCO and some of the participants in our Water Adaptation Steering Committee — representatives of Aurora Water, the Colorado River Water Conservation District, Denver Water, and the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado. RMCO also submitted our own separate comments. Both are here.
On May 26, 2010, RMCO and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), released a report, Special Places at Risk in the Gulf: Impacts of the BP Oil Catastrophe. The report lists the 15 top national and state parks and wildlife areas, and their key resources, threatened by oil contamination from the BP oil blowout.
On May 2, 2010, Chips Barry, a member of the RMCO board of directors since our organization was launched in 2004 and the manager of Denver Water (Colorado’s largest water provider), was killed in an accident on his farm in Hawaii. Chips was two months away from retirement from his Denver Water position, but had agreed to serve for another term on our board. His forte was bringing people together to achieve results—which also describes what RMCO strives to do. Chips was a stalwart supporter of RMCO, beginning with his hosting at his home the kick-off fundraiser for RMCO six years ago. More than words let us say, we already miss and will continue to miss Chips, his wisdom, and his wit.
On April 7, 2010, RMCO and the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report, Glacier National Park in Peril: The Threats of Climate Disruption, documenting how an altered climate threatens the spectacular scenery, widllife, and other resources of Glacier—and the tourism they attract, a mainstay of Montana’s economy.
On March 19, 2010, on behalf of ourselves and others including the Colorado State Climatologist, officials of Colorado River Water Conservation District, Denver Water, Colorado Springs Utilities, and Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado, we submitted testimony to congressional appropriations committees in support of increased funding for key climate/water data collection systems.
On March 8, 2010, RMCO released a news release applauding the final passage by the Colorado General Assembly of a bill strenthening the state’s requirement for how much clean energy investor-owned utilities must use to generate the electricity they sell—carrying out a portion of a key recommendation of the Climate Action Panel RMCO convened.
On February 5, 2010, RMCO’s director of programs testified before the Colorado General Assembly in support of the legislation carrying out that key part of a major recommendation of our blue-ribbon Climate Action Panel.
On December 17, 2009, RMCO, as an activity of our Colorado Climate Network, held a workshop for Colorado counties and cities on how to use their federal stimulus funds received from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.
On October 1, 2009, RMCO released with Natural Resources Defense Council a report, National Parks in Peril, documenting that climate disruption is the greatest threat ever to our national parks. The report identifies the 25 national parks most at risk, and recommends actions to protect our parks.
On August 24, 2009, RMCO’s president testified before the U.S. Senate on climate change effects on national parks.
On May 25, 2009, RMCO launched a new Colorado Climate Network to support local climate-protection programs in Colorado. The announcement was made by Mayors John Hickenlooper of Denver and Doug Hutchinson of Fort Collins and the executive directors of the Colorado Muncipal League and the Colorado Association of Ski Towns.