Good morning! On Nov. 12, the City of Boulder published a report detailing the community’s progress on cutting climate-changing emissions. They fell 22 percent since 2018 📉.

What exactly does that mean? How much of that drop was Covid-19 related? How much is durable? What will it take for Boulder to meet its ambitious 2030 goal? Allen Best, longtime climate reporter in Colorado, has those answers and more in today’s top story. It’s a foundational explainer for understanding where we are on climate action.

A takeaway for me: “65% of Boulder’s total emissions come from buildings. And that’s a problem, because switching out houses isn’t nearly as easy as closing coal plants.

Also, Anthony Albidrez interviews Rachel Herlihy, our state epidemiologist. And: Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who became BRL members this week and supported us. Your words of encouragement, offers to volunteer and financial support mean the world to our team!

– Stacy, publisher

A person in cycling gear drinks from a water bottle on a bike ride, with tallgrass in the foreground and mountains in the background
Reporter Allen Best likens Boulder’s emission reduction goals to a bicycle rider on a grueling uphill journey. Credit: Timothy Hurst for BRL

Top Stories

Boulder has big goals for bringing down carbon emissions. How feasible are they?

Attaining Boulder’s climate goal will require the city to reduce emissions an average 5.83% per year in the next decade. Aside from a pandemic-induced breather, it has been shedding emissions at a rate of 1.3% per year. Read full story

An interview with Colorado State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy

What exactly does a state epidemiologist do on a day-to-day basis, and how has the job changed during the Covid-19 pandemic? We spoke with Dr. Rachel Herlihy about her role and its challenges, along with her own personal journey to public health. Read full interview


⏱️ Cooler, but still mild today. Highs near 60.
⏱️ It was a record-breaking week for heat this week, including on Thursday. It was 72 degrees in Boulder.
⏱️ The 72-year-old Boulder man who died this week in a ski collision at the Eldora Ski Area has been identified as Ronald Lemaster of Boulder.
⏱️ The Boulder County voter turnout map is up. “Turnout was a bit down from 2019, but still higher than previous off-year elections,” the county clerk wrote in a tweet.
⏱️ The Boulder Hazardous Material Management Facility and Recycle Center (including drop-off center) has been closed until further notice.
⏱️ Boulder’s Fox Theatre has been inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
⏱️ The Shakespeare Festival by CU Presents: All tickets now on sale.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Dec. 3, 2021*

  • 95 daily new cases (7-day avg.) 🔻Down 24% over last week.
  • 81 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 37.
  • 50% of ICU is occupied by Covid patients 🔺Up from avg. of 22%.
  • 68% percent of ICU is occupied in total 🔻Down from avg. of 72%.
  • *Data. Curious how we’re crunching data? Here’s an explainer on what we’re tracking and why.

Latest Covid news

  • Vaxxed vs. un-vaxxed. Re-upping this: We’ve heard your calls for more detailed data on vaccinations. We’re working on a system to better track vaccination data in Boulder County. (The county’s data sources are not publicly available.) Statewide, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment says 82% of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 are unvaccinated (as of Dec. 2). You can find that data here.
  • Slowing of cases. Also according to data from the state public health department: Covid cases in Boulder County appear to be slowing. The rates of both new cases and hospitalizations are down from their peaks last month. There are still unknowns (which we will report on) — including whether we should brace for an uptick in cases from the spread of the Omicron variant.
  • Heavy toll in Boulder County. The latest virus wave appears to have taken a hefty toll on the Boulder community. Over the last three weeks, 26 people with Covid-19 have died in the county, according to the state’s public health department.
  • Omicron confirmed in Colorado. The state has identified its first case of the new variant. From CPHE: “The case was identified in an adult female resident of Arapahoe County who had recently traveled to Southern Africa for tourism. She is experiencing minor symptoms and is isolated and recuperating at home. She had been fully vaccinated and was eligible for the booster vaccine but had not received it yet.”

BRL Picks

🌊 Weigh in on flood protection. How should the City of Boulder prioritize flood protection projects? Which factors are most important to you? Property protection, infrastructure resiliency, equity or something else? That’s what the city wants to know by Dec. 31, as it shapes an update to its Comprehensive Flood and Stormwater Master Plan. “Boulder has the highest flash flood risk in the state of Colorado – and that means having infrastructure in place to help protect our community from floods is critical.” Give feedback here.
🏘️ Related: Learn the flood risk of your neighborhood. Search for an address within the city to determine where you are in the floodplain, and how at risk you might be. Here is the “new and improved” interactive floodplains map.
👩‍🌾 Calling local farmers. Are you a local farmer, agricultural producer, or part of a nonprofit organization or other business working on sustainable food or ag projects? For the third straight year, the county is dispensing money — this year, $405,000 — to fund this work. It comes from the voter-approved Sustainability Tax ballot initiative from 2016. Project examples include regenerative agriculture, soil health and sustainable local food production efforts. Deadline: January 5, 2022. Apply here.
🚴 Trail-building volunteers wanted. Help build a “600’+ alternative ending to Fast Money” trail. Saturday, Dec. 4, 9 .a.m–noon. Sign up here.

What We’re Reading

  • King Soopers: reopening, and remodeled. The Table Mesa location will reopen on January 20, 2022, nearly 10 months after the mass shooting that killed 10 people. The building has been redesigned based in part on feedback from Boulder residents, the company said: “This store has been the cornerstone of the South Boulder Community for the last 49 years and has served as an icon, providing food and a sense of community to our neighbors, friends and customers and we are looking forward to welcoming our associates and the community back to their fully remodeled store.” Details on the redesign to come. King Soopers continues to offer mental health services at its Boulder Strong Resource Center at 2935 Baseline Rd. [City of Boulder]
  • New center for Out Boulder County. In a “major milestone for the LGBTQ+ community,” Out Boulder County has announced its brand-new facility that will offer new and expanded programming, including dedicated space for youth. The 9,505 square foot building is at 3440 Mitchell Ln. in Boulder. An open house celebration will be held on January 22, 2022. “We did it,” said Mardi Moore, the group’s executive director. “With the support of the Boulder County community, our services and programming have outgrown two spaces in the past seven years, leading us to begin a search for a true community center to house our programming and operations and provide a space that can truly belong to the Boulder County LGBTQ+ community.” [Out Boulder County]
  • Update on the Caribou gold mine. State water quality officials have issued a cease and desist order against owners of the Caribou gold mine near Nederland due to heavy metals leaking into drinking water sources. “The dripping heavy metals are not a current threat to Middle Boulder Creek, Barker Reservoir or the parts of Boulder County downstream,” according to state officials, Michael Booth reported. [Colorado Sun]


📈 Boulder Community Health is expecting to see its highest number of breast cancer patients in years. It’s not alone. “It’s really frustrating to see something that we can prevent in terms of delayed diagnosis, which really means not just worse outcome, but also more aggressive treatment.” — Sami Diab, an oncologist with the Mountain Blue Cancer Care Center at the Swedish Medical Center in Englewood
🤒 Four people in Boulder County have been hospitalized with influenza this season. A data-driven look at what public health officials are worried about as flu and Covid collide this fall and winter.

About Us

Hi. We’re Boulder’s new nonprofit newsroom. Our mission is to help you get more informed about the issues you care about and more connected to the city you love. To do this, we provide high-quality, original journalism on the most pressing issues plus curated community information — all paywall-free. Learn more about us here.

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Stacy Feldman is the founder and publisher of Boulder Reporting Lab. She previously co-founded and was executive editor of Inside Climate News, a Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit newsroom covering the climate emergency. She was a 2020-21 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she developed the concept for BRL. Email: