GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap

cover of GHG Roadmap show with report title, Colorado rural vista and CO Governor Jared Polis' office logo

In January 2021, Colorado released its Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap. The GHG Roadmap represents the most action-oriented, ambitious and substantive planning process Colorado has ever undertaken on climate leadership, pollution reduction and clean energy transition. It lays out an achievable pathway to meet the state’s science-based climate targets of 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050 from 2005 levels that were part of House Bill 19-1261 Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution. An executive summary of the GHG Roadmap (also included in the full report) is available in English and Spanish

The GHG Roadmap shows Colorado’s largest sources of GHG emissions are transportation, electricity generation, oil and gas development and fuel use in homes, business and industrial applications. Findings show that meeting the 2025 and 2030 goals is achievable with existing cost-effective technologies, but progressing toward these goals will require additional policies beyond the actions the state has taken already. 

Key Steps to Achieving 2030 Targets
  • Continue swift transition away from coal to renewable electricity
  • Make deep reductions in methane pollution from oil and gas development
  • Accelerate the shift to electric cars, trucks and buses
  • Make changes to transportation planning and investment and land use planning to encourage alternatives to driving
  • Increase building efficiency and electrification
  • Reduce methane waste from landfills, waste water and other sources
Colorado’s Roadmap GHG Emissions Scenarios
chart of Colorado GHG Roadmap scenarios - GHG emissions over time and targets

In part as a result of the Polis administration’s efforts to get electric utilities to commit to a clean energy target of an 80% reduction in GHG pollution by 2030, the GHG Roadmap analysis shows that Colorado is on a trajectory to achieve almost half the emissions reductions needed to meet the 2025 and 2030 goals. The GHG Roadmap outlines additional steps the state will take to achieve the targets. 

Colorado Clean Energy Plans 
Graphic of utility climate commitments

The development of the GHG Roadmap was an open, transparent process. State agencies sought input from a wide variety of stakeholders including those most impacted by the effects of climate change. Throughout the year-long process, the state received more than 2,000 email messages and held more than 50 group meetings. Input was specifically sought from local governments, environmental groups, organizations that serve communities of color and lower-income residents, as well as leadership and environmental staff from the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Tribes. The state also held public listening sessions in English and Spanish that were attended by about 600 Coloradans. Additional comments were received at public Air Quality Control Commission meetings where updates on the GHG Roadmap were presented. A more complete description of the process is available under the Public Engagement section below.

Additional Materials
Final Report

Colorado GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap Final Report and the Executive Summary in English and Spanish

E3 Technical Appendix

The state hired Energy + Environmental Economics (E3) to model potential pathways, or scenarios, that would make progress toward meeting emissions reduction targets. E3 used its PATHWAYS model, which is built using bottom-up data for all emissions produced and energy consumed in Colorado, to model GHG emissions from all sectors of the economy and its RESOLVE model to develop least-cost electricity generation portfolios. The technical appendix provides greater detail about the modeling and the inputs used to build these modeled scenarios.

State of Colorado Technical Appendix

During the course of the development of the Roadmap, the Air Quality Control Commission and other stakeholders requested details on policies and near term actions the state might take to meet the GHG reduction goals. The state’s Technical Appendix outlines how state staff aligned the sector emissions projections produced by E3 with the emissions reductions from near term strategies that Colorado expects to pursue. 

Roadmap Outreach Plan and Feedback
Question and Answers on the Roadmap

This document, GHG Roadmap Responses to Questions, provides responses to the more frequently asked questions about the Roadmap. 
 

During the development of the draft Roadmap, the state implemented a Stakeholder Outreach Plan to engage citizens and stakeholders, to inform them about developments in the Roadmap process and to hear their feedback about the Roadmap and how Colorado is addressing climate change.

As part of the Stakeholder Outreach Plan, the State agencies formed a Technical Advisory Group composed of experts who provided input on the study’s assumptions and results.

The state also developed a webpage, email address, and web-based form to allow anyone to submit comments either through the form or by uploading comments. In addition to the public comment form on CEO’s website, the Roadmap team provided regular, monthly updates to the Air Quality Control Commission, where time was provided for the public to comment on the Roadmap.

State Outreach Plan

This is the initial plan Colorado and Energy + Environmental Economics (E3), the contractor that worked with Colorado to develop the Roadmap scenario analysis, developed to guide public engagement in the Roadmap process. The next section of this appendix describes how this plan has been carried out. With assistance from the E3 and the Center for the New Energy Economy, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), in collaboration with the Governor’s Office and other State agencies (Colorado Department of Transportation, Department of Natural Resource, and Department of Agriculture), carried out an outreach and communications effort designed to engage citizens, stakeholders, and technical experts to help inform development of the administration’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Roadmap. The effort began in January 2020 and continued throughout the work developing the Roadmap. The process included a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), community listening sessions, and small group meetings. These efforts resulted in: 

  • Technical input on study design and review of draft work products by leading experts in each of the major sectors covered by the Roadmap to provide a solid technical foundation.
  • Opportunities for input from the public and stakeholders to ensure transparency, gauge reactions to policy options, develop support for the Roadmap, and to implement stakeholder engagement requirements established by House Bill 19‐1261 and Senate Bill 19‐096.
  • Identification of, and input from, disproportionately impacted communities and communities that are currently economically dependent on industries with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions (see: HB19‐1261)
  • Coordination with the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) in accordance with its statutory mandates to adopt rules for GHG reporting and abatement in Senate Bill 19‐096 and House Bill 19‐1261.
  • Collaboration with other state commissions involved in the development and implementation of policies to address GHG emissions in Colorado, including the Transportation Commission, Public Utilities Commission (COPUC), Agriculture Commission, and Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (OGCC).
  • Participation of technical and policy experts from all State agencies with a role in the development and implementation of the Roadmap to gather data and ensure consistency with agency‐specific analysis
  • Relationship building with experts at Colorado colleges and universities, national laboratories, and other Colorado institutions that have experience and expertise to contribute to the effort.
Technical Advisory Group

A first step in the implementation of this outreach plan was to form a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) tasked with providing input on the study design, including assistance with data collection and evaluating modeling assumptions. This group was asked to provide feedback to the state and E3 on emissions inventory data that will be used in the modeling and the assumptions included in the modeling of a reference case and a current policies case. The TAG, along with other stakeholders and the public, was asked to provide input on the additional policies and strategies that could be considered to ensure timely progress toward the state’s 2025, 2030, and 2050 GHG goals.

The TAG was comprised of individuals with expertise covering business and industry, clean energy, academic and research institutions, and local government. The TAG assisted the state and the contractor in data collection, vetting of technical modeling assumptions, assessments of the modeling results, and evaluation of various emission reduction pathways. 

List of State Updates to the AQCC and Other Public Meetings

November 2020

The Colorado Department of Transportation provided an update on the Roadmap to the Transportation Commissions. 

October 2020

The state hosted a public comment session on October 20, 2020 to take feedback on the public comment draft of the Roadmap that was released on September 30, 2020. Roughly 300 participated in the event. Agency staff working on the Roadmap also provided updates to the AQCC on October 12 and October 21. The Colorado Department of Transportation and staff from other agencies held multiple public meetings to discuss the state’s clean trucking strategy. Additional meetings were held with local governments, groups representing historically marginalized and disproportionately impacted communities, and environmental groups.  

September 2020

The Roadmap team provided an update to the Technical Advisory Group and held additional meetings with environmental groups. The Colorado Department of Transportation and staff from other agencies held a public meeting to discuss the state’s clean trucking strategy.

August 2020

The state hosted a public listening session on August 12. The state provided an overview of the Roadmap and state climate equity work with time dedicated for public comment and answering questions. More than 300 people participated in the event. The Colorado Department of Transportation and staff from other agencies held a public meeting to discuss the state’s clean trucking strategy.

July 2020

CEO presented to the Board of Directors of the Denver Regional Council of Governments on July 1 and to the Colorado Chamber of Commerce Energy & Environmental Council on July 17. We also held a Roadmap Business Briefing for Ceres network members on July 21. 

June 2020

CEO, CDA and CDPHE presented the GHG Reduction Roadmap process to Colorado's agricultural commodity and advocacy groups on June 4, 2020. Discussion centered around opportunities for farmers and ranchers to volunteer to employ conservation inputs that improve production, energy efficiency, water quality, and reduce greenhouse gases. We also hosted Roadmap presentations for the Metro Mayors Caucus, Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties, Inc., and Counties and Commissioners Acting Together on June 17 and 18.

May 2020

On May 11, CEO in partnership with the Climate Unit at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, presented an update of the Roadmap and the rulemaking process for Regulation 22 at the Public Utilities Commission.

April 2020

E3, joined by CEO and CDPHE, gave a presentation on the Roadmap at a public meeting of the The Air Quality Control Commission. The presentation provided an update on the inventory analysis and discussed scenarios for the greenhouse gas emissions reduction needed to meet the state’s goals. There was an opportunity to provide comments on potential mitigation strategies. CDPHE Staff presented plans to identify and engage communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.

March 2020

The state's Roadmap team and E3 convened the first meeting of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG), a cohort of individuals from industry and the academic and scientific communities who possess specialized technical expertise in key areas that will be evaluated as part of the Roadmap study. The TAG will review and provide valuable input to the Roadmap team on the study's modeling assumptions, mitigation scenarios, and results on an ongoing basis.

February 2020

The Air Quality Control Commission hosted a public meeting that included an update on the Roadmap process. While this presentation primarily focused on the inventory analysis that has taken place, there will be future public meetings and engagement opportunities to more directly weigh in on potential mitigation pathways. The Commission will be taking steps to hear more from communities impacted by climate change.

January 2020

As part of implementing Colorado’s laws to track and report GHG pollution (Senate Bill 19-96 and House Bill 19-1261), the Air Pollution Control Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) held public meetings on January 16, 2020 and January 17, 2020 to gather stakeholder input to inform draft rules. CDPHE also gathered input from representatives of impacted communities, industry groups, environmental groups, local governments, utilities and other states through January 27, 2020.
 

2021 Legislative Summary

More than 30 bills passed in the 2021 Colorado General Assembly legislative session advancing clean buildings, climate action, environmental justice, transportation electrification, renewable energy, energy efficiency and just transition. The package of legislation makes major progress on the GHG Roadmap's goals to achieve at least 80% reduction from electricity generation by 2030, 60% from oil and gas development, 40% from transportation and 20% from industry and buildings. The bills direct public investments in market transformation, create incentives from electric and gas utilities, and include regulatory requirements to be implemented through the Public Utilities Commission, Transportation Commission and Air Quality Control Commission. For a brief overview of the clean buildings, climate action, environmental justice, transportation electrification, renewable energy, energy efficiency and just transition legislation that passed during the 2021 session - see the 2021 Legislative Snapshot

For a brief overview of energy efficiency, electric vehicles and climate/utility policy legislation that passed during the 2019 session - see the 2019 Legislative Session Snapshot.

  • Gov. Polis created a Climate Cabinet, to ensure that state agencies work together to meet the goal of getting to 100 percent renewable energy and meeting the state’s bold greenhouse gas reduction goals. 
  • On January 17, 2019, Gov. Polis issued Executive Order B 2019-002 Supporting a Transition to Zero Emission Vehicles to initiate a proposal for a zero-emissions vehicle standard, create a transportation electrification workgroup and directing a $70 million investment in vehicle electrification.
  • On May 30, 2019, Governor Polis released the Roadmap to 100 Percent Renewable Energy and Bold Climate Action.
  • In August 2019, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment adopted the zero emissions vehicle standard. For more information visit, https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/zero-emission-vehicle-mandate-proposal.
  • In December 2019, the Air Quality Control Commission approved new rules under Senate Bill 19-181 to further tighten emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry. It will be considering additional rules in 2020. 
  • In December 2019, Governor Polis signed Executive Order D 2019-016 extending the state government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making government operations more energy efficient and sustainable. The Executive Order’s goals focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions across state government by at least 10 percent below 2014-15 levels by 2022-23. To accomplish this goal, the executive order establishes more targeted efforts in energy efficiency, renewable energy and fleet management.
  • In May 2020, the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) adopted Air Regulation Number 22, Parts A and B. Part A requires sources of greenhouse gas pollution to monitor and annually report their emissions to the Air Pollution Control Division of CDPHE. Part B establishes phase-out dates for the use of hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs) in foams, aerosols, air conditioning and refrigeration. The AQCC's adoption of the HFC phase-out makes Colorado the first state to adopt the Climate Alliance States' Model Framework for the phasing out of these potent greenhouse gases. 
  • In 2018 Colorado signed on to the U.S. Climate Alliance's Natural and Working Lands Challenge. Colorado commits to managing natural and working lands, including forests, farms, rangelands and wetlands to be resilient carbon sinks and to protect the communities, economies and ecosystems that depend on them.
  • In 2019, the Department of Local Affairs launched a $12 million Renewable/Clean Energy Challenge Grant Program for local governments to spark efforts in reaching Colorado’s 100% renewable energy by 2040 goal. For more information visit, https://cdola.colorado.gov/renewable-and-clean-energy-challenge
  • Governor Polis’s 2020-2021 proposed budget prioritized resources to improve air quality by strengthening compliance, enforcement and ambient air quality monitoring efforts at the state’s Air Pollution Control Division, create a new, incentive-based Soil Health Program within the Department of Agriculture, support efforts to replace all suitable state fleet vehicles with electric vehicles, and invest in charging infrastructure at state facilities. 
  • The Colorado Energy Office has intervened in multiple dockets at the Public Utilities Commission. Completed dockets include a new line extension policy that will facilitate installation of EV charging in Xcel Energy's service territory and a new EV charging rate for electric buses and other fleets.
  • State agencies assisted Tri-State in developing a Responsible Energy Plan in which Tri-State, the second largest utility in the state, commits to retiring all of its coal plants in Colorado by 2030, adding approximately 1000 MW of wind and solar by 2024, and reducing state emissions 90% by 2030.

The Executive Directors of the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) were directed under a July 2021 Executive Order to issue a bi-annual report to update the public on progress being made on the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap and identify opportunities for further action.

The first report is available here.

This report outlines action taken on the policies and programs that, as modeled in the GHG Roadmap, will accomplish a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, all while improving air quality, advancing equity, and reducing energy costs for Coloradans. The report discusses progress made to date, as well as additional actions in development, including the Governor’s proposed fiscal year 2022-23 budget which includes over half a billion dollars of one-time investments in air quality and climate action.