November 27, 2011
Author and 350.org Co-founder Bill McKibben Kicked Off US Speaking Tour in Boulder on Sunday
Joined by Mayor Appelbaum and local experts to discuss Boulder’s energy future and the global climate crisis
BOULDER, CO — On the wave of the recent victory over the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, activist Bill McKibben kicked off a US Speaking Tour in Boulder on Sunday. McKibben, who the Boston Globe calls “the nation’s leading environmentalist” was joined by Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum and local experts to discuss the recent win, plus next steps for Boulder since voters passed local clean energy Ballot Measures 2B and 2C. Topics included what a clean energy future in Boulder could look like, how it could be a national model, and other climate opportunities and challenges. The event, co-sponsored by 350.org and the City of Boulder, took place at Unity of Boulder at 7pm on Sunday.
It’s exciting to hear that Boulder is taking firm control of its own energy destiny,” said McKibben. “It’s something we’re going to have to do all over the country to have any hope of dealing with our carbon mess. Local food–and local electrons!” McKibben is a co-founder and president of the board of 350.org, an international grassroots climate campaign active in 180 countries and every US state.
McKibben is currently travelling around the country to speak about the recently won campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and the growing grassroots climate movement. The campaign included 12,000 Americans forming a circle around the White House on November 6th and the arrests of 1,253 people during a White house sit-in in August. The campaign has escalated the profile of climate activists calling on all levels of government to address the climate crisis.
City of Boulder officials and staff – including Mayor Matt Appelbaum and Jonathan Koehn, Boulder Regional Sustainability Coordinator – described the importance of the recent vote passing Ballot Measures 2B and 2C in order for the City of Boulder to fully investigate the opportunities, costs and benefits of potentially running a municipally-owned utility and pursuing an energy portfolio with a higher percentage of renewable energy. Replacing carbon-intensive coal burning with renewable energy in order to meet the City’s carbon reduction goals was a primary driver for many city officials and community members who promoted local control of energy.
Sam Weaver, President of Cool Energy, presented energy modeling done by volunteer experts and analysts on behalf of Renewables Yes, a local group promoting the shift to a local electric utility. The group’s modeling has shown that Boulder could reduce its carbon emissions by 60% and increase the percentage of renewable energy by 40% in the matter of a few years, all while keeping rates at parity or lower than those charged by Xcel Energy.
“With recent passage of Ballot Measures 2B and 2C, Boulder now has the power to create a clean community-based energy future that can serve as a model to other cities around the nation of how to reduce carbon emissions and stimulate the local economy,” said 350.org Colorado Organizer Micah Parkin, who emceed the event. “It’s a model we at 350.org are excited to share with our volunteers nationwide!”
350.org is an international grassroots climate campaign organizing for science-based solutions to climate change. “350” is named for 350 parts per million, the safe upper limit of carbon in the atmosphere. We are
currently at 392ppm.