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Boulder Named 2016 US Earth Hour City Challenge Capital

The City of Boulder, CO has been named the 2016 US Earth Hour Capital in the fourth year of World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Earth Hour City Challenge. The Earth Hour City Challenge is a year-long challenge honoring cities reducing their carbon footprint and responding to the threats of climate change. Selected from 16 US entrants, Boulder, CO will represent the US in the global Challenge as the 2016 Earth Hour City Capital. Boulder joins previous winners, Evanston, IL, Chicago and San Francisco in holding this prestigious title.

“As the world looks to make good on the promise of the Paris Agreement reached this past December, cities will play a major role in paving the path toward a safer climate,” said Kevin Taylor, senior specialist, local engagement, WWF. “Boulder is leading the way with innovative strategies to transition to renewable energy and building climate resilience. All of the entrants in this year’s Earth Hour City Challenge represent inspiring examples of what’s possible at the local level and how that can translate into global change.”

Boulder has a long-established and well-earned reputation for sustainability action. The city was previously a finalist in the 2014 Earth Hour City Challenge. This year, the independent jury for the competition recognized Boulder’s comprehensive and innovative climate strategy that focuses on community-driven action. The city has set the ambitious and inspiring community goal to be powered by 100% renewable electricity by the year 2030. To get there, Boulder is addressing both how electricity is produced, with a community solar strategy process, and reducing demand for energy through new energy efficiency standards for commercial and industrial buildings. Perhaps the most inspiring and important of this story though is Boulder’s dedicated residents who support and contribute greatly to its success.

“The wellbeing of our community and of future generations depends on our willingness to take action now. We have not just a responsibility but a great opportunity to rise to the climate challenge and power a vibrant future, and we hope what we do here in Boulder inspires other cities to do the same,” said Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones.

2016 is well on the way to becoming the warmest year to date. May marked the 13th consecutive month of unprecedented temperatures, the longest streak on record. With climate change heating up, global solutions are needed on all levels and Boulder represents a city meeting these challenges head on.

“We are honored to be recognized as this year’s US Earth Hour Capital. From our partnerships with other cities, including past Earth Hour capitals, we know that Boulder is not alone in demonstrating climate action leadership, and we applaud the many innovative and inspiring climate efforts taking place in peer cities nationwide and around the world,” said City of Boulder Executive Director of Planning, Housing and Sustainability, David Driskell.

The Earth Hour City Challenge included 21 countries across WWF’s global network. This year, Paris was named the Global Earth Hour Capital, selected by an independent jury from among the 21 national capitals. Cities from each country will be recognized in Quito, Ecuador October 17-20 as part of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III.