Working to keep the West special

RMCO documents climate changes in Colorado mountains

RMCO on August 23, 2021, released new reports detailing our analyses of what the climate models project for locations in two Colorado mountain counties, Eagle County and Summit County. This is part of our continuing work to spread the word about what climate change can mean in the Interior West.

Colorado Communities for Climate Action: Now 39 members strong!

Colorado Communities for Climate Action, launched just three years ago, has already grown to include 39 local governments. CC4CA is a coalition of local governments advocating for strong federal and state climate protection actions. Initially a RMCO program, CC4CA now is a free-standing organization, but still gets expert and administrative support from RMCO. Learn more here.

After breakthrough legislative successes in the 2019 Colorado legislative session, more victories this year

The 2019 session of the Colorado General Assembly was the most successful yet in addressing human-caused climate disruption -- and Colorado Communities for Climate Action, supported by RMCO, played an important role. Most important was the passage of HB19-1261, a clear statutory mandate and framework for reducing emissions, finally putting Colorado among the states leading on climate. CC4CA is now pushing for full implementation of the 2019 laws, and this year also helped win approval of eight other bills, as explained in this posting.

RMCO board member picked to head Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Congratulations to Jill Ryan, then a member of the board of directors of RMCO and an Eagle County commissioner, who was picked by new Governor Jared Polis last year to serve as executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Congressional Quarterly leads with RMCO in special report on climate change

In an Earth Day 2018 special report on climate change, Congressional Quarterly, a Washington publication, featured RMCO's work. The report's title, "A slowly unfolding crisis," is a quote by RMCO president Stephen Saunders, and the body of the report drew heavily on RMCO's work.

RMCO report on climate change in Colorado River headwaters

In 2018, the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization released a report documenting how climate change may affect the water and snow resources in the headwaters region of the Colorado River. The news release announcing the report is here.

The report, Climate Change in the Headwaters: Water and Snow Impacts, prepared by RMCO for the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, summarizes existing information on how climate change puts at risk the water and snow resources of Colorado's mountains and the many economic and social values that depend on them.

RMCO's Stephen Saunders said, “Future climate change will be determined by future levels of heat-trapping emissions. If emissions keep increasing unchecked, the science says there will be major disruptions of the snow and water resources of this headwaters region.”

RMCO report: More extreme heat in Denver metro area

In June 2017, the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the City and County of Denver's Department of Environmental Health released a report on what climate change may mean for the Denver metropolitan area. With continued high heat-trapping emissions, Denver by mid-century is projected to have in a typical year seven days 100° or hotter, more than ever recorded here. But that is nothing compared to the hottest year in mid-century -- projected to have 25 days 100° or hotter.

This analysis of 44 million individual projections from the latest climate models may be the most thorough and detailed analysis yet of climate projections for any single locality in the United States. Details are here.

RMCO report: Projected climate extremes in two Colorado counties

Two earlier, similar RMCO reports on projected climate extremes covered Boulder County and Larimer County, both in Colorado.

At national parks centennial, climate change seen as top risk

In August 2016, as the nation observed 100 years since the establishment of the national park system, new attention was brought to a conclusion first articulated b RMCO: that climate change is the greatest threat ever to these national treasures. We feel good about our role in bringing attention to the national parks as a leading example of the risks of climate disruption.

Report: Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk

In 2014, the Union of Concerned Scientists and RMCO released a joint report, Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk, detailing how a changing climate is affecting forests in this region, and how further climate change may lead to far greater impacts than those seen before. For this region, the vulnerability of our forests is one of our greatest threats, and one of the best reasons to reduce the extent to which we humans are disrupting the climate.


A Special Region

The American West is special. The West is also changing -- more heat, less snow and water, more wildfires.

We work to keep the West a special place to live, work, and play, by promoting new attitudes and new actions to tackle climate change and its disruptive impacts. We do much of this in partnership with local governments and other institutions that can have the most impact in protecting the climate.

Colorado Communities for Climate Action

Colorado Communities for Climate Action, a new coalition of local governments advocating for state and federal policies to protect our climate, was originally set up as an RMCO program. It now is a freestanding organization, but RMCO continues to provide expert and administrative support to the coalition. CC4CA has its own, separate website.

CC4CA effectively took the place of the earlier Colorado Climate Network, which also was a RMCO program.

Local Resilience Project

A major project of lasting importance by the Colorado Climate Network, a RMCO program that predated Colorado Communities for Climate Action, is the Colorado Local Resilience Project, which was co-convened by CCN and the Colorado Municipal League. In that project, representatives from 30 local governments and other local organizations prepared an action agenda on what can to done to protect local communities and resources from wildfires, heat waves, and other impacts.

RMCO reports

One of the key ways in which RMCO spreads the word about climate disruption and its impacts is through our carefully researched, richly detailed, and easily readable reports.

We now have prepared and released 22 reports, most in partnership with other organizations. The reports have been covered by 18 of the 25 largest-circulation newspapers in the nation.


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RMCO's Firsts

RMCO was the first nonprofit organization in the nation—and still the only one—to convene a stakeholder panel which developed a statewide agenda for climate action.

The panel's recommended goals for reducing emissions of heat-trapping pollution were adopted by Governor Bill Ritter Jr. as official state policy, and many other recommendations were included in the state's Colorado Climate Action Agenda or enacted by the Colorado General Assembly.

RMCO was the first to call climate change the greatest threat ever to our national parks, which we have documented in several reports on the national park system and particular parks.

RMCO was the first organization to consistently label what humans are doing to the climate as climate disruption. The earlier, more common, phrase, global warming, is instead misleading, as warmth is a word that always has a positive connotation. This is part of how we communicate effectively about the damage we humans have been doing to the climate on which we all depend.




All photos on our website unless indicated otherwise are copyright by and courtesy of John Fielder. One of today's best photographers of the extraordinary landscapes of the Rocky Mountains, he captures what makes this region worthy of protection from climate disruption.