Aspen got national attention in 2004 when it launched a program called the Canary Initiative that aimed for greenhouse gas reduction. This summer, a time of smoky skies and heat in the mountain resort that at one point surpassed temperatures in sub-tropical Florida, city officials have decided those original goals fell short of what is needed.
They want to pick up the pace. Reducing emissions can’t wait. “We don’t have any fires right here right now, but the impact of fires across the West, the drought, the rising temperatures that everyone is suffering from—these provide very tangible examples of what we can expect to see a lot more of if we don’t take some very significant and aggressive actions,” said CJ Oliver, the city’s director of environmental health and sustainability. Other communities in Colorado have similarly acknowledged the urgency for transformation.