Yesterday, the Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution bill, HB 19-1261, received final approval from the legislature, and is now ready for the Governor’s signature. The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) recognizes and appreciates the historic progress the legislature has made this session in attempting to get Colorado to do its part in addressing the looming climate disaster. It is gratified that HB 19-1261 acknowledges the importance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius over the pre-industrial average, as called for by the October 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report.
However, the bill’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals are not consistent with that temperature rise limit. Instead, if the goals were achieved worldwide, they would lead to a global average temperature increase of 2° Celsius by 2100, not 1.5° C. Kevin Cross, convener of the Fort Collins Sustainability Group, noted that “Although a half degree temperature difference may seem trivial, the October IPCC Report makes clear that a 2 degree warmer world would be far less livable than a 1.5 degree warmer world.”
Micah Parkin, the Executive Director of 350 Colorado noted that “In order to have a 66% chance of achieving this goal, we must achieve worldwide net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.” 350 Colorado President, Gina Hardin, stated, “The risk that climate change will destroy all we hold dear is readily apparent now. The Midwest may take centuries to recover from the massive loss of topsoil from the unprecedented flooding in what has been the world’s breadbasket. The damage has already cost $3 billion and is rising. Recovery from the infrastructure and economic destruction will take years. Mozambique has just been slammed by an unprecedented two cyclones within 6 weeks. The horror stories go on and on.”
Therefore, the CCLC calls on the legislature to improve upon the goals established by HB19-1261 in 2020 so that they are more in line with what the science is telling us we must do. Specifically, we urge that the legislature move the 50% emissions reduction goal currently set for 2030 up to 2028 compared to 2005 levels. Achieving that goal, together with the 2025 goal of 26% emissions reductions, would put Colorado on track to reaching net zero GHG emissions by 2035.
Our state must adjust its goals in accordance with the best available science to establish Colorado as a true climate leader, for the sake of ourselves and future generations.
The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) develops and advocates strategies for reducing Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions to levels supportive of a livable climate. We currently have 26 member organizations located throughout the State of Colorado. Visit our website at https://colivableclimate.org to learn more.