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November 9, 2021

OSCAR Newsletter | November 9, 2021

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November 9, 2021

Welcome to Boulder County's Office of Sustainability, Climate Action, and Resilience (OSCAR) newsletter. This newsletter contains stories and information about our work and ways the public can get involved in sustainability and climate action initiatives.



Director of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience, Boulder County

Local governments have been far ahead of states and the federal government in advancing climate solutions. In fact, hundreds of local governments have formally committed to aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

But, with time running out to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we now know that reducing emissions isn’t enough. We also need to invest in CDR (Carbon Dioxide Removal) and local governments need to play a central role in this critical area of work.

This year, the City of Flagstaff, Arizona became one of the first municipalities in the US to include CDR as a component of its overall climate emergency strategy – and Boulder County recently funded its first project to support CDR market development.

Given our joint interests in this space, I am happy to announce that Flagstaff and Boulder County have started a coalition of local governments to advance carbon dioxide removal strategies that also advance other community priorities such as climate resilience, workforce development, and racial equity.

Local governments are facing the increased financial burden of preparing for, responding to, and recovering from worsening climate disasters. And these climate impacts are felt first and worst by our most vulnerable residents: low-income communities, communities of color, the elderly, and the unhoused. CDR resources will need to be used efficiently and in ways that create as many co-benefits as possible.

Alone, local governments have limited resources and capacity to initiate complex and costly CDR projects. By working in a coalition, local governments can pool resources and share best practices. For example, we could invest in common projects (similar to community solar), grow demand for new technology (like low-carbon concrete), and even adopt regional procurement standards that place explicit value on products and services that drawdown carbon. Collectively, we can also support progressive local and state policies that create even wider adoption of CDR.

To realize the potential of this new area of impact, we’re working with the Open Air Collective and other experts to create a platform for other local communities to collaborate.

Want to learn more about how local governments can drive carbon dioxide removal? Sign up for this free webinar on November 10:

As we build this coalition of local governments that are serious about CDR, we welcome you to join us and shape this effort.

— Susie

CDR Webinar

What can I do at home?

Shovel snow from sidewalks onto vegetated areas so it can soak into the ground instead of flowing onto the street. If using a deicer, apply according to instructions as soon as snowy or icy conditions appear. Deicers help break the bond between ice and pavement to make shoveling easier. They do not evaporate the snow and ice, so adding more does not eliminate the need to shovel.

Learn more about your community’s winter storm resources by clicking on one the following links:


Do you like to talk about plant-based foods? Participate in a research study!

In our work to slow global heating, we know that food production contributes significantly to climate change. That’s why Eco-Cycle is working with the City of Boulder and researchers at Colorado State University to study what kinds of barriers Boulder County residents face, and what motivations can help us, when trying to have more effective conversations about the need for plant-based diets. You can help us by taking this survey and sharing your thoughts on plant-based eating.

Click here to take the Survey

  • Your contributions to this study will help us design better messaging about food choices and climate change.
  • The survey only takes around 15 minutes to complete, and survey respondents will have the opportunity to receive a $5 gift card as a thank you.
  • The survey is focused on Boulder County residents but open to those living outside the county too.

Will you help us better understand the barriers and motivations that shape whether and how you talk about plant-based foods?

Take the Survey

A note from the CSU team: This survey has been assessed against federal ethical research standards by the Colorado State University Institutional Review Board, under the protocol number #2100. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Dr. Megan Jones at or 541 286-8226. If you have any questions about your rights as a participant, please contact the CSU Institutional Review Board at or 970-491-1553.

Plant-based Diet

PACE Small Business Equity Program: Lighting Upgrade Grant

Are you a small business owner in Boulder County? Boulder County Partners for a Clean Environment's (PACE's) Small Business Equity Program can cover 50% of your lighting upgrade costs.

The deadline to submit applications for 2021 funding is November 30.

Apply today!

Lighting upgrade grants

Recent News


Climate crisis has cost Colorado billions – now it wants oil firms to pick up the bill

Boulder County estimates it will cost taxpayers $100m over the next three decades just to adapt transport and drainage systems to the climate crisis, and reduce the risk from wildfires. The county government says the bill should be paid by those who drove the crisis

Read more in The Guardian.

Restore Colorado

The Table to Farm Movement Championing Sustainable Agriculture in Colorado

In a region seeing the impacts of the climate crisis nearly daily, from destructive wildfires to extreme drought, the need for food systems solutions “cannot be ignored,” says Christian Herrmann of Boulder County OSCAR. While many scientists agree that regenerative agriculture is a necessary tool for fighting climate change, the cost of transitioning to these methods can be an obstacle for many farmers. Restore Colorado seeks to ease the financial burden of conservation practices, like compost application.

Read more in Food Tank.

New York Times Clip

The Morning: Climate Bankruptcy

In Colorado, Boulder County has sued Exxon Mobil and another oil company over a devastating 2010 fire, saying that they should “use their vast profits to pay their fair share of what it will cost a community to deal with the problem the companies created.” And in Louisiana, North Carolina and other states, flood-prone towns like Fair Bluff are withering.

“Their gradual collapse means more than just the loss of identity, history and community,” Christopher explains.

Read more in The New York Times.

Air Quality and Public Health

Want cleaner air? Make your voice heard.

This summer saw a record-breaking string of days with high ozone in Boulder County, which can impact children, older individuals, people with asthma, and outdoor workers. For those concerned about ozone or other air pollution along the Front Range, there are opportunities to have your voice heard by the decision makers responsible for addressing air quality and climate change. Colorado is currently drafting or revising rules that would:

  • Address Regional Haze and protect Rocky Mountain National Park. The state is enacting rules to curb visibility-limiting air pollutants from power and major industrial plants. Boulder County, along with Colorado Communities for Climate Action, is asking state officials to go beyond the voluntary agreements with power companies that would reduce emissions and consider a request from the National Park Service to evaluate the sulfur content of Suncor Refinery gas. NPS is concerned that Suncor gas could be contributing to sulfur and nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park. You can make public comment November 17. [HG1] [HG2]
  • Establish a Greenhouse Gas Planning Standard for Transportation. Gas-burning cars and trucks emit pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone and drive climate change. Boulder County, with Colorado Communities for Climate Action, is asking the state to put a greater focus on reducing the need to drive, more extensive public transit in underserved neighborhoods, and telecommuting. Boulder County wants with less focus on electric vehicles for greenhouse gas reductions. The state’s current proposal does not prioritize options that work for everyone, particularly in areas most affected by vehicle pollution. You can make public comment November 10 and November 18.
  • Oil and Gas. This industry is also a big contributor of pollutants that drive ozone and climate change. Boulder County is asking the state to increase direct regulation through proven methods such as leak monitoring and repair, and to provide increased protections to the most disadvantaged communities. You can make public comment December 14, although you can’t sign up for this session until after November 19.

Oil and gas antelope

Meet the Team

Matt Lappé, Senior Climate Strategist

Matt Lappe

What do you do at OSCAR? As Senior Climate Strategist, I work on initiatives that weave together climate mitigation, resilience, and racial justice. One current project I'm excited about is called the Localized Climate Mapping and Equity Initiative, which will help identify how to focus our work to protect the most vulnerable individuals and communities in our county.

Hometown? Point Arena, California, population 443. Go Pirates!

What do you like most about your job? The team! It is an honor to work with my colleagues at OSCAR. They are thoughtful, creative, brilliant, and deeply committed to our work.

Hobbies? Snowboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, surfing, crossword puzzles, to name a few. Does parenting two highly energetic daughters count as a hobby?

Favorite author? Two that come to mind are Margaret Atwood and Cormac McCarthy.

Favorite musician? Impossible to name just one! Some artists I'm listening to now include: Fruit Bats, Run The Jewels, Janelle Monáe, Big Red Machine, De La Soul, Broken Social Scene, Ólafur Arnalds, Aldous Harding.

Favorite movie? I love anything directed by Ridley Scott, with Prometheus as one of my favorites.

What are you watching right now? Just finished watching Lost for the first time. I love mystery-box sci-fi, like Westworld and Raised by Wolves, so it was fun to watch one of the originals. I also watched many hours of standup comedy over the past year. Some of my favorites are specials from Nate Bergatze, Fortune Feimster, and Ali Wong.

What are you reading right now? Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Godforsaken Sea by Derek Lundy.

Events Calendar

WEBINAR: How local governments can drive carbon dioxide removal innovation.

November 10, 2021

12 p.m. - 1 p.m.

Reducing emissions is not enough to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We also need to invest in carbon dioxide removal and local governments have a critical role to play.

Want to learn more?

Sign up here.

Build Back Better Business Roundtable

November 10, 2021

1 p.m.

Business owner? A coalition of organizations is hosting a roundtable with representatives from the offices of Senators Hickenlooper and Bennet to discuss the the Build Back Better Act and how it will impact Colorado businesses and climate action.

Learn more about this legislation and make your voice heard by sharing what is important to your business with the Senators' staff.

RSVP here.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: PACE Residential Sustainability Advisor

November 14, 2021

Boulder County Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) is hiring a Residential Sustainability Advisor.

The posting is open through November 14, 2021.

For more information and to apply, visit the Boulder County careers website.