Is Colorado losing ground in our battle against climate change?

Tom Doyle
CRES Boulder County Chapter

A recent leak of Governor Hickenlooper’s Executive Order titled “Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change” identifies a disturbing decline in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) Colorado is willing to mitigate.

This Executive Order states that Colorado will achieve a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions from the power sector by 2025 and 35% CO2 emissions reductions by 2035.  On the surface, this appears to be an aggressive goal.  The issue with this order is it refers to emissions reduction from only the power sector. The Colorado power sector accounts for only 30% of Colorado’s emissions. Calculating the total emissions reductions from this Executive Order amounts to a miniscule 8% statewide emissions reduction by 2025 and 11% statewide emissions reductions by 2035.

What makes this order particularly disturbing is that it dramatically reduces the goal from Governor Ritter’s 2008 Executive Order formally declaring emissions reduction goals of 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 below 2005 levels for the State of Colorado. Governor Ritter’s order considers all sources of CO2 emissions in scope for the decline, not just power sector emissions. Governor Hickenlooper’s Executive Order is a slap in the face to all Coloradoans and, in fact, all of humanity.

We are proud of Colorado and the raw beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the health of our communities. We live in Colorado for the opportunities to raise our families in the splendor and purity of the environment.  We should all stand against this Executive Order, which weakens the core of our state. More alarming is the irreversible damage it will create in the decades to come around the globe.

Submit comments on the draft executive order to Kurt Morrison, Governor Hickenlooper’s legislative liaison at kurtis.morrison@state.co.us.