Colorado’s Roadmap to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Pollution Delivers Initial Results

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DENVER – Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 – To deliver on the administration’s commitment to renewable electricity and bold action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution across the economy, Governor Polis has directed state agencies to develop a comprehensive action plan during 2020 that expands upon the Polis Administration's Roadmap to 100% Renewable Energy By 2040 and Bold Climate Action released in May 2019.

Under the direction of the Governor’s Climate Cabinet, several state agencies — the Colorado Energy Office, Department of Public Health and Environment, Department of Transportation, Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture — are working with Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) to help develop a GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap (Roadmap).

The Roadmap will provide an action plan for the state to meet legislatively adopted, science-based targets for reducing GHG pollution 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050 from 2005 levels. Initial work has helped to quantify GHG pollution in 2005 and project GHG pollution reductions from recently passed legislation and administrative actions. In future phases, the Roadmap will quantify projected reductions from near-term additional actions the administration is pursuing and will identify additional cost-effective legislative, administrative and regulatory actions, as well as voluntary measures to help achieve the state’s GHG pollution reduction goals.

The Roadmap evaluates the impact of 14 pieces of legislation the General Assembly passed in 2019 including establishing GHG pollution reduction goals, requiring local jurisdictions to adopt one of the three most recent versions of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), creating pathways to clean energy for electric utilities, modernizing the Public Utilities Commission, adopting new energy efficiency standards for appliances, and requiring investor-owned utilities to invest in electrifying transportation, as well as administrative actions including the adoption of zero emissions vehicle standard. In a presentation today at the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, agencies shared initial modeling by E3 showing that currently adopted policies should allow the state to achieve an 18% reduction by 2025 and 25% by 2050.

Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, said, “In only 14 months the Polis administration, working with the legislature, has made real progress on greenhouse gas pollution reduction. Our modeling shows that policies adopted through 2019 should allow the state to achieve two-thirds of our 2025 pollution reduction goals and half of our 2030 goals. This progress doesn't take into account the additional reductions we expect to see once recent oil and gas legislation is fully implemented. But we are not done. In the near term, the administration is proposing rules to reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, developing a new state electric vehicle plan, and working with legislators to make it easier for Coloradans to purchase electric vehicles, reduce building energy use and switch from burning fossil fuels in buildings to using clean electricity, as well as supporting legislation to back the use of renewable natural gas as a replacement for fossil methane. In the coming months, E3 will quantify the additional emissions reductions we can expect from these actions.”

“About a year ago, Governor Polis gave us the directive to be bold in protecting the health of our communities and the Colorado environment by reducing greenhouse gases, and we have been running with that directive,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “We are moving faster than ever because that is what needs to be done. We have adopted a car emissions standard to accelerate the transition from fossil fuel vehicles to zero-emitting electric vehicles; we have formed the first-ever climate change unit at the department, which is dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; we have enacted the initial round of rules to reduce oil and gas emissions under the stringent new law; and we are helping electric utilities plan to transition from coal power to renewable energy. We are only one year in and gaining momentum on the issue. The Roadmap assures that we are deliberate in the strategies we pursue.”

There will be opportunities for Coloradans to provide feedback on the development of the Roadmap and actions that can help Colorado meet its GHG pollution reduction goals. To stay updated on the Roadmap process and submit feedback, go here.