Advocating strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level supportive of a livable climate.

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PRPA Staff Should Try Harder to Reach 100% Non-carbon Electricity

Published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan on March 8, 2020

From where we stand, Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) staff should try harder than it has done so far to map a path toward the Utility’s goal of providing 100% non-carbon electricity to its owner communities by 2030.  PRPA’s efforts to date fall considerably short of the mark.

The PRPA Board approved the 100% non-carbon goal in December of 2018.  The Board did this in response to pressure from residents of the four communities that own PRPA – Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, and Estes Park – who want northern Colorado to do its part to address the climate crisis.

PRPA staff has developed four resource portfolios for consideration by the board and residents of its owner communities.  Of these, only the third option, named “Zero Carbon,” is capable of achieving the 100% non-carbon goal by 2030. The first option represents business as usual.  The second option achieves only 90% non-carbon electricity by 2030, and includes construction of a new gas-fired plant in 2030.  The fourth option doesn’t achieve even the low bar of 90% non-carbon electricity until 2036, with construction of a new gas-fired plant slated for that year.

We would have liked to see multiple portfolios capable of achieving 100% (or near) non-carbon electricity by 2030, in keeping with board policy.  And it’s unclear to us why PRPA staff thought any of the portfolios should include construction of a new gas-fired plant a decade or more in the future, given that PRPA has a significant amount of gas-fired generating capacity right now.  Those gas generators will have a useful role to play in the near term, but we shouldn’t be building new fossil fuel infrastructure with a lifetime measured in decades now, much less 10 – 15 years from now.

Digging a little deeper into the Zero Carbon option, we note that that PRPA staff made a number of overly conservative assumptions that result in much higher rates than the other options.  For example, the future prices of wind and solar used by PRPA staff are 40% to 70% higher than the values predicted by an NREL analysis in this State of Minnesota study.  Additionally, PRPA staff assumed that its four owner communities would do nothing over the next ten years to manage their electric loads.  However, Fort Collins has already made progress in reducing its peak electric loads through its recently implemented “Time of Day” rates.  And the possibilities for further managing loads will increase significantly as electric vehicles replace gasoline-powered vehicles.

With its single proposed path for achieving the Board’s 2030 goal and its pessimistic assumptions about the future cost of renewables, it seems as if PRPA staff is trying to convince the Board and public that 100% non-carbon electricity isn’t feasible.  Fortunately, Fort Collins residents will have a chance to learn more and weigh in on behalf of renewables at a Community Focus Group session scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 12th at the Drake Center. RSVP here to make your voice heard!

Kevin Cross and Nick Francis are both spokespeople for Northern Colorado Partners for Clean Energy, a coalition of organizations in the four municipalities that own PRPA.  We have a shared goal of transitioning PRPA to 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

  1. The Coloradoan article on the four resource portfolios is available here:
  2. The State of Minnesota study is available here:
  3. Information on the PRPA focus group sessions – including how to RSVP – is available here:

Statement on Rulemaking Concerning State Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This statement was delivered at the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission hearing on February 20th, 2020.  An earlier version was delivered at the Air Pollution Control Division hearing on January 16th.

The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) has advocated for the adoption of strong greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals by the State since our inception in 2015.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells us that in order to have a better than even chance of avoiding climate catastrophe, i.e. to limit the global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels, the entire world needs to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2040.  We believe that Colorado should achieve that goal even sooner, given our historic emissions and our access to ample renewable energy resources.

Last year, the Colorado General Assembly passed SB19-096 and HB19-1261, which together establish GHG emissions reduction goals for 2025, 2030, and 2050.  While the latter two goals don’t go far enough, we are fully supportive of the 2025 goal, which is to reduce emissions by 26% compared to 2005 levels.  It is essential to begin making deep reductions as soon as possible, since GHGs such as carbon dioxide and fluorinated gases remain in the atmosphere for many hundreds – if not thousands – of years.

SB19-096 and HB19-1261 give primary regulatory power over GHGs to the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC).  While we appreciate the AQCC moving toward regulating hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), we note that those two acts do not limit the AQCC’s scope to regulating HFCs.  According to the 2019 Colorado GHG Inventory Report, HFCs and other fluorinated gases will constitute less than 1% of all GHG emissions this year.  In order to start making real progress toward the 2025 goal, the State needs to move aggressively to limit the emissions of all significant GHGs, specifically carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, in addition to fluorinated gases.  Critically, SB19-096 requires that the rules needed to achieve our GHG emission reduction goals be proposed by July 1st of this year.

Addressing methane emissions is particularly important, given the potency of that greenhouse gas and the large amounts of it emitted during the process of extracting fracked oil and gas.  Additionally, there is a large body of research suggesting that estimates by the EPA of the amount of methane that leaks from those wells are too low.  Continuous ground-based monitoring at oil and gas facilities is required by SB19-181, and the AQCC should include this in its rulemaking.  The AQCC should also require top-down measurements of GHG emissions via flyovers to assess actual emissions being leaked from the oil and gas industry in Colorado, considering that studies have indicated that Colorado’s actual methane emissions are 2-5 times higher than currently estimated.  The data from ground and air-based monitoring will help improve the estimate of methane emissions in the next Colorado GHG Inventory Report.

Finally, we believe it is important for Colorado to recognize the contribution of its fossil fuel exports to the climate crisis.  The AQCC can do this by requiring that future GHG Inventory Updates include the anticipated CO2 emissions from fossil fuels exported from Colorado for use elsewhere as a sidebar to the historic and projected GHG inventories.

In conclusion, the CCLC calls on the AQCC to initiate the Regulation 22 process as soon as possible, to move quickly in developing that regulation, to address the emissions of all significant GHGs, and to track those emissions accurately so that Colorado can do its part to address the global climate crisis.

Milestones on the Path Toward the PRPA’s Commitment to 100% Non-Carbon Electricity by 2030

May 2013:

The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) develops an advocacy plan for getting the Fort Collins City Council to adopt a goal of 80% community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions by 2030 compared to 2005emission levels.  This goal was originally developed by the FCSG during a series of “Climate Solutions Retreats” held in the spring of 2009.

August 2013

The Fort Collins City Council begins a two year process of determining how it might strengthen its 2008 the Climate Action Plan.  The 2008 plan set goals of reducing community greenhouse gas emissions 2.9% by 2012, 20% by 2020, and 80% by 2050 compared to the 2005 baseline.

July 2014

The Platte River Power Authority (PRPA), which is owned by and provides electricity to Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland, and Estes Park, states that it is “investigating options” for reducing its CO2 emissions 20% by 2020, 35% by 2030, and 80% by 2050.  Since roughly half of Fort Collins’ GHG emissions come from the electric power sector, the FCSG realizes that the PRPA’s 2030 target will have to be strengthened if Fort Collins is to be able to achieve the goal of 80% overall GHG emissions reductions by 2030.

November 2014

The FCSG and the Ft. Collins-based Community for Sustainable Energy (CforSE) give a presentation to Sustainable Revolution Longmont (SRL, which later changed its name to Sustainable Resilient Longmont) about the importance of getting the PRPA to reduce its GHG emissions faster than planned – by at least 80% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.  The FCSG and CforSE urge SRL to push the Longmont City Council to adopt GHG emissions goals similar to those of Fort Collins.  This meeting marks the beginning of a collaboration between these three organizations.

January 2015

Sustainable Resilient Longmont calls for the Sustainability and Climate Plan that was shelved in 2010 to be completed.

March 2015

The Fort Collins City Council unanimously approves the 2015 Climate Action Plan Framework, which includes the following community goals: 20% GHG emissions reductions by 2020, 80% GHG emissions reductions by 2030, and 100% GHG emissions reductions by 2050.  It also includes a target of 80% emissions reductions in the electric power sector by 2030.  However, the PRPA soon makes clear that it has not actually committed to meeting this final goal.

April 2015

The FCSG meets with members of the Protect Our Loveland Renewables Team, marking the beginning of a collaboration between these two organizations on items of mutual interest, including getting the PRPA to add renewables to the grid instead of building a new gas-fired power plant.

April 2015

Protect Our Loveland members meet with other activists from Fort Collins and Longmont who were interested in joining with the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 team to try to form an alliance to push the PRPA to commit to reaching a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030.

January 2016

Loveland activists start a new grassroots group, Renewables Now Loveland, formed specifically with a goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030 and to be in lock step with the other three sister municipalities served by the PRPA in reaching that common goal.

May 2016

The PRPA Board approves moving forward with developing a “Customized Resource Plan Study” for its four owner communities, which would allow those communities to achieve customized levels of renewably generated electricity.  This effort is largely driven by the desire of Fort Collins elected officials to achieve at least 80% GHG emissions reductions in the electric power sector by 2030.

November 2016

Longmont City Council passes a Sustainability Plan.

November 2016

The website is launched to stimulate interest and discussion concerning renewable energy in the Estes Valley, as well as to start a dialogue involving residents, the Estes Park Utility, and the PRPA.  The site advocated for utility scale solar arrays located at Rawhide Flats.  The ensuing dialogue led to the formation of the Estes Valley Sustainability Group and to a useful ongoing relationship with Jason Frisbee, the CEO of the PRPA.

March 2017

The Estes Valley Sierra Club subgroup holds its first meeting, and soon informs the Estes Park Town Council that it looks forward to working with them in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

March 2017

Northern Colorado Partners for Clean Energy (NCP4CE) holds its first meeting to discuss working together to push the PRPA to provide more renewably-generated electricity and less fossil-fuel generated electricity.  Representatives from all four PRPA owner communities attend.  We agree on a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030.  Current (2019) member organizations of NCP4CE are 350 Northern Colorado, Colorado Renewable Energy Society, Colorado Sierra Club, Community for Sustainable Energy,, Environment Colorado, Estes Valley Clean Energy Coalition, Fort Collins Sustainability Group, Renewables Now Loveland, Sustainable Resilient Longmont, and Transition Fort Collins.

April 2017

The Estes Valley Indivisible Environment Group forms.  Shortly thereafter, the Estes Valley Sustainability Group, Sierra Club subgroup, and the Indivisible Environment Group join together under an umbrella organization, the Estes Valley Clean Energy Coalition (EVCEC), which has more than 100 members.

Summer 2017

SRL launches a “Ready for 100 Campaign” in conjunction with the Sierra Club to promote moving toward a commitment to 100% renewable electricity by 2030.  Volunteers collect signatures, hold events and speak frequently at City Council meetings.  They obtain 1500 signatures as well as dozens of hand-written post cards.

August 2017

In response to pressure generated by NCP4CE member organizations, the PRPA announces that it will include a 100% renewable scenario in its Customized Resource Plan Study.  This scenario is called the “Zero Net Carbon” option.  At this time, the PRPA states that it is considering nine other scenarios featuring less renewables than would be needed to achieve ZNC goal.

October 2017

SRL holds open forums for all candidates running for city council.  All candidates are asked questions about how they would commit to sustainability and also whether they would commit to supporting 100% renewable energy by 2030.  All candidates except one (who wasn’t elected) commit to that support.

December 2017

The PRPA releases its Zero Net Carbon (ZNC) Study, which does not include any scenarios featuring less renewable generating capacity than would be required to achieve ZNC.  The study found that achieving ZNC electricity by 2030 would not be significantly more expensive than a “business as usual”, fossil fuel-heavy strategy.

December 2017

NCP4CE releases the first of two critiques of the ZNC study, which was completed by the Catalyst Cooperative.

December 2017

Longmont’s newly elected Mayor, Brian Bagley, signs a Mayoral Proclamation committing to the goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

January 2018

The Longmont City Council passes a resolution calling for the City to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Winter 2018

Teams from the EVCEC interview all members of the Estes Park Town Council to understand how they view the environment, sustainability, and renewable energy.  These teams also interview Estes Park business owners, collecting thirty signatures in support of transitioning to renewable energy.  In addition, they interview Jason Frisbee and members of the PRPA staff.  Finally, EVCEC members show up in significant numbers at Town Council meetings to advocate for renewable energy.  A major issue early on was to promote clean electricity for the Estes Valley, similar to that which would be provided to Fort Collins and other municipalities served by the PRPA.

March 2018

NCP4CE releases the second of its two critiques of the ZNC study, which was completed by Energy Strategies.  Both critiques point out a number of conservative assumptions made by the PRPA that made renewable electricity appear to be less attractive than it would be under more favorable assumptions, and suggest that the strategy featured in the ZNC study of a) installing a new natural gas plant, b) installing significantly more renewables than would be needed to meet PRPA owner community electricity requirements in order to c) offset the emissions produced by the natural gas plant by selling power to other utilities would be highly problematic.

April 2018

A newly formed coalition, Fort Collins Partners for Clean Energy (FCP4CE), releases a proposed resolution that would set a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030 for the City of Fort Collins.  FCP4CE members advocate for passage of this resolution over the next six months.

May 2018

The EVCEC makes clean energy an issue during the election for three seats on the Estes Park Town Council.

October 2018

The Fort Collins City Council passes a resolution calling for the City to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

November 2018

The Estes Park Town Board passes a resolution supporting the PRPA’s anticipated plan to reach a 100% non-carbon resource mix by 2030.

December 2018

The Loveland City Council passes a resolution similar to the one passed by the Estes Park Town Board.

December 2018

The PRPA Board votes to approve the goal of delivering 100% non-carbon electricity to its four owner communities by 2030.  This goal is included in its new “Resource Diversification Policy.”  The new policy notes that a number of “advancements must occur in the near term” in order to meet the 100% non-carbon goal, including the development of a regional market for electricity, improved battery performance, improved transmission and distribution infrastructure, and improved grid and end-user management systems.

Since the adoption of the 100% non-carbon electricity goal, NCP4CE has continued to advocate for achieving that goal.  Ongoing activities include:

  • Regular attendance at all PRPA monthly board meetings
  • Regular (thrice yearly) meetings of the coalition.
  • Regular meetings with PRPA staff by the members of the Modeling Working Group, which has developed an independent model to evaluate different paths toward the 2030 goal.
  • Regular meetings with PRPA staff by the members of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) Engagement Team, which monitors development of the IRP and encourages PRPA’s customers to make their voices heard in that process.


Climate Science Says Act Now

Published in the Denver Post on August 13th, 2019

Re: “Pollution tax is not ready for prime time,” Aug. 11 editorial

The Denver Post’s editorial states it would make more sense to work with all Xcel energy customers on the Front Range to come up with a regional solution. I am part of Resilient Denver. We have a Citizen-led Initiative for a ballot measure similar to Denver City Council’s.

What do I believe? I believe the science. Science clearly tells us the climate crisis is worsening, and CO2 levels are rising more rapidly than we hoped. We are conducting a worldwide, uncontrolled experiment. The outcome is at best terrible, and at worst catastrophic, depending on where one lives, how much money one has, and when we curb emissions. We are just realizing as a society solving this problem will cost money, between one and two per cent of GDP. The longer we wait, the more it will cost. A regional solution would take years to craft. Denver needs to lead and move forward now.

Marc Alston, Denver

CCLC on Draft Colorado GHG Inventory 2019

Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate news release on July 12, 2019


Fort Collins, CO – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released its draft “Colorado Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2019 Including Projections to 2020 and 2030” on July 5th.  That report provides actual statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data through 2015, and projected GHG emissions for 2020 and 2030.


The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) makes the following observations concerning the CDPHE draft report:


  1. Statewide GHG emissions in 2015 were 1% HIGHER than they were in 2005, the baseline year. By 2020, the CDPHE expects those emissions to drop slightly so that they are the SAME as they were in 2005.
  2. This performance contrasts sharply with that of two front range cities, Boulder and Fort Collins, which decreased their community-wide GHG emissions by 8 – 9% between 2005 and 2015, and are on track to meet their 2020 goals of reducing emissions 20% compared to 2005 levels.
  3. The CDPHE report fails to note that the State’s performance is on track to fall far short of the 2020 goal set by Governor Ritter, which is the same as the goals adopted by Boulder and Fort Collins for that year.
  4. A key difference between the State of Colorado and the Cities of Boulder and Fort Collins is that the two cities have had substantive climate action plans in place since the early 2000s, whereas the State has not.
  5. The CDPHE projects that statewide GHG emissions will drop 3% below 2005 levels by 2030. It fails to mention either of the goals for the coming decade set by HB19-1261, which was approved by the State legislature and signed into law by Governor Polis earlier this year: 26% GHG emissions reductions by 2025, and 50% GHG emissions reductions by 2030.


Clearly, there is an enormous gap between what Colorado’s GHG emissions will be under a “business as usual” scenario and what they should be if we are to achieve our 2025 and 2030 goals.  We already know it’s possible to achieve the goals as shown by two of our cities but at the same time, “business as usual” and Colorado’s existing Climate Plan will not get us there.  Colorado needs to take immediate bold action to make up for our shortfall on the 2020 goal and ensure we will meet the new goals for 2025 and 2030.  The CCLC will do everything in its power to help Colorado meet or exceed its climate goals between now and the end of the next decade.  We cannot wait any longer.




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 to learn more.

Open Letter to Colorado’s Congressional Delegation

The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) sent a letter to all nine members of Colorado’s congressional delegation on June 24th, 2019 urging them to work on moving legislation forward in Congress that will address the climate crisis.  Eight of them (Senators Bennet and Gardner; and Representatives DeGette, Tipton, Buck, Lamborn, Perlmutter and Crow) received the letter appended below.  In our letter to Representative Joe Neguse, we thanked him for cosponsoring the Green New Deal Resolution (H. Res. 109), and noted that he is the only member of Colorado’s congressional delegation to do so, and is also the only one of his nine peers to have signed on the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (H.R. 763).

“Given the threat the climate crisis poses to Colorado and the number of bills related to climate issues that were passed by the State General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Polis earlier this year, we are surprised and disappointed by the apparent lack of interest in climate issues on the part of the majority of Colorado’s congressional delegation.  We urge you to sign on as a sponsor of the Green New Deal Resolution, and to work on moving legislation forward in the Congress that will address the climate crisis.” –Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate

Dear Senator/Representative —:

The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) is comprised of 26 organizations that collectively develop and advocate strategies for reducing Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions to levels supportive of a livable climate.  Although we focus primarily on State government and utilities operating in Colorado, we considered and adopted positions on two national policy proposals at our meeting held in Loveland on June 15th of this year. Those positions are outlined below.

First, we re-affirmed our support for the Green New Deal Resolution (H. Res. 109 and S. Res. 59), which we voted to support earlier this year when it was first introduced in Congress.  Although we recognize that there is much to be done before the Green New Deal can become a reality, we believe that the level of effort contemplated by its sponsors is what will be required to address the urgent threat posed by the climate crisis at the national level.  We further believe that a Green New Deal could serve as a model for other countries, which will also need both to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions sharply and to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of global warming that are already occurring and will continue to occur.

Second, we voted to support the general concept of a carbon fee and dividend, in which carbon emissions are taxed at the mine mouth or well head and a portion of the receipts are returned to citizens and U.S. residents.  However, we decided that we cannot support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (H.R. 763) in its current form.  Concerns our members expressed regarding this particular bill included a) that the proposed carbon fee, which starts at $15 per ton of equivalent CO2 emissions, is too low, b) the inclusion of provisions suspending certain existing regulations pertaining to greenhouse gas emissions, and c) the failure to direct any of the revenues collected toward federal projects to address the climate crisis.  We will continue to monitor H.R. 763 closely as it makes its way through Congress, and hope that it will be improved to address these concerns.

We note that Joe Neguse is the only member of Colorado’s congressional delegation that has signed on as a sponsor of the Green New Deal Resolution, and that he is also the only member to have signed on as a cosponsor of H.R. 763.  Given the threat the climate crisis poses to Colorado and the number of bills related to climate issues that were passed by the State General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Polis earlier this year, we are surprised and disappointed by the apparent lack of interest in climate issues on the part the majority of Colorado’s congressional delegation.  We urge you to sign on as a sponsor of the Green New Deal Resolution, and to work on moving legislation forward in the Senate/House of Representatives that will address the climate crisis.

According to the United Nations, we have about a decade to reduce our emissions substantially if we are to avoid climate catastrophe.  It’s time for the federal government to start doing its part in confronting this problem.



Gina Hardin (350 Colorado)

Micah Parkin (350 Colorado)

Kevin Cross (Fort Collins Sustainability Group)

Theron Makley (Wind and Solar Denver


Ph.  970-419-8944



The Apocalypse Issue

Re: “Lofty goals”, May 26 commentary

Vincent Carroll gets a lot right when he targets “Lofty Goals” of changing over everything to new technology for our energy sources. It has not been easy to move Colorado just this far away from burning stuff for our energy. And getting to 100 percent renewable energy will cost. But as any significant transition, say, indoor plumbing, or road networks, or international travel, those initial costs are seen in retrospect as investments.

Moving toward the new energy economy — simply because the physics of electricity are cleaner, healthier and more efficient — promises a better life for everyone.

Yet, Carroll also skirts the issue of the “apocalypse.” The scientific findings are out there for anyone to read, and a man of Carroll’s intellect should be familiar with them, but he doesn’t seem to be.

We burn fossil fuels today and the stuff lingers in the atmosphere for generations, heating up the air and the oceans. Damage is already done; people are already dying, storms are worse, rains heavier, droughts droughtier and forests in flames, just as predicted decades ago.

The solutions are not one big thing. Business and government must and, in many good examples, are working together. But this climate crisis is also a moral issue for all Americans.

The Republicans tell us that business will take care of us.

The Democrats say the government and business.

But it is a free people who will choose what cost they will bear for their children.

Jeff Neuman-Lee, Denver


CCLC Urges Bolder Climate Goals in 2020

Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate news release on May 2nd,  2019

Fort Collins, CO – 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 to learn more.

Colorado should set bold climate change goals

Published in the Colorado Independent on April 2nd, 2019

The Colorado General Assembly soon will consider establishing additional climate goals for our state. The bill, HB19-1261, would set goals of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a 90% emissions reduction by 2050, both compared to 2005 levels. The bill also reaffirms the goal set by Gov. John Hickenlooper before he left office: a 26% emissions reduction by 2025.

While the new goals might sound ambitious, the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) is calling for the 2030 goal to be strengthened – instead of 50% reduction by 2030, the CCLC seeks a 63% reduction by then. This higher benchmark aligns with the best available science and would offer a better-than-even chance of limiting the average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degree Fahrenheit) across the globe, if extended worldwide.

The report released last October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes planetary warming must not exceed 1.5 degrees C over the next 20 years. A half degree higher than that could be disastrous. A world that is warmer by 1.5 degrees C would see fewer extreme heat waves and resultant deaths, fewer extreme precipitation events and associated flooding, fewer extreme droughts and attendant forest fires and crop losses, lower sea level rise and associated inundation of coastal areas and islands, and the loss of fewer animal species compared to a world that is 2 degrees C (3.6 Fahrenheit) warmer.

HB19-1261 rightly acknowledges that global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees C.

Unfortunately, the greenhouse gas emissions-reduction goals outlined in the bill would NOT result in limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5° if extended worldwide. Instead, they would result in the greater, 2 degree C global temperature rise. The reason: The emissions reductions are not enough. Some countries would have to cut them more than 63% by 2030 to keep warming to 1.5 degrees C. CCLC believes Colorado should be a good neighbor and share the burden equally with other states and countries. We believe this inconsistency in the bill should be swiftly addressed and remedied by adopting CCLC’s goal of 63% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The existing goal for 2025 plus this more ambitious 2030 goal would put Colorado on a straight line path toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. We recommend that the last emissions-reduction percentage we need to put us over the finish line – net-zero emissions – be set sometime over the next decade.

These cuts – extended worldwide – WOULD be likely to keep the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees and thereby most adequately address the climate crisis. The CCLC developed these recommendations in conjunction with Scott Denning, Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. These recommendations align closely with those included in the October 2018 IPCC Report for a 66% probability of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C by the end of the 21st century.

HB19-1261 calls for Colorado to exercise “a leadership role” on climate, which would “position its economy, technology centers, financial institutions, and businesses to benefit from national and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.”  The CCLC urges our legislators to establish a true climate leadership role for Colorado by adopting a bold 63% emissions reduction goal for 2030. Our children and future generations will thank them for doing their part to preserve a livable climate.

Kevin Cross and Micah Parkin are spokespeople for the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate.  The CCLC develops and advocates strategies for reducing Colorado’s GHG emissions to levels supportive of a livable climate, and is comprised of 26 member organizations located throughout the State of Colorado.

Oil and gas legislation needs debate of substance

Published in the Denver Post on March 24th, 2019

Re: “Does proposed oil and gas reform go too far or not far enough?” March 17 commentaries by Jon Caldara and Simon Moya Smith

I write in reply to Jon Caldara’s Sunday column on SB-181. There are serious issues here. My comments are not intended to demean Weld County. Mr Caldara calls the bill “an existential threat to Weld County”. He then compares that threat to the “vague, macro-level romantic way the Boulder mafia running Colorado’s government talks about global climate change”.

I will bet there is much more real science data backing climate change than there is data on the economic demise of Weld County – unless the data is paid for by the oil and gas industry. Mr Caldara uses the same arguments paid for by oil and gas to defeat Prop. 112. And that money is out in force again to defeat SB-181, I hear. SB-181 gives local control to Weld County. So will Weld County not get to decide what happens in Weld County under SB-181?

Marc Alston, Denver

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