Gov. Jared Polis’ draft plan to drastically cut greenhouse gas pollution in Colorado calls for an accelerated move to electric vehicles and buses, deep reductions of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and at least an 80% drop in emissions from electricity generation.
The plan released Wednesday for public comment aims to cut greenhouse gas pollution by more than a quarter of 2005 levels in the next five years and cut it in half by 2030.
Beyond that, Polis’ plan calls for “close to 100%” of the vehicles on Colorado’s roads in 2050 to be electric.
This news comes as National Weather Service officials warned Front Range residents Wednesday morning to avoid outdoor activity and to keep their windows closed because the air quality — largely due to the massive and ongoing wildfires — is so poor.
Polis mentioned those wildfires in a statement as examples of the “countless indicators” brought on by climate change that threaten Colorado’s economy and way of life as he unveiled the draft Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.
“From day one, my administration has prioritized a swift transition to renewable energy and bold climate action, and this roadmap is a significant step forward to continue to reduce pollution for the benefit of the health and well-being of our communities and our economy,” Polis said in the statement.
The plan is the result of the Colorado Action Plan to Reduce Pollution Act, which Polis signed into law in May 2019, his administration said in a news release. That sparked a partnership between the Colorado Energy Office, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, among others, to collect an inventory of emissions, anticipate the effects of 14 climate and energy bills enacted in 2019 and suggest ways to reduce those emissions.
Meeting the plan’s five- and 10-year goals can be done with existing technologies, though it will require new policies statewide, officials said. Much will depend on transitioning further to low-cost renewable energy and reducing pollution from cars and trucks by switching to electric vehicles and reducing the need for driving.
The state also needs to cut pollution from the oil and gas industries, landfills, sewage treatment plants and more, the news release said. Buildings should also be constructed more efficiently and shift further toward a “cleaner” electrical grid.
The entire draft and its recommendations can be found online at energyoffice.colorado.gov.
“There’s a lot of work ahead of us to address the climate crisis, and we’re going to continue moving forward with a rigorous, data-driven process to implement the policies that are right for Colorado’s environment, people, disproportionately impacted communities and economy,” said John Putnam, director of environmental programs for the state Department of Public Health and Environment.
A public listening session will be held on the topic on Oct. 20 and the draft is open for public comment through Nov. 1 the news release said. The document is expected to be finalized and published by the end of the year.
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