Colorado climate advocates call on Xcel to step up as international climate negotiations are underway
Denver, CO – November 15th, 2017
As international leaders meet in Bonn, Germany this week for the UN Climate Change Conference, local leaders, businesses, advocates and more are holding events across the US to support climate action in the absence of federal leadership.
Donald Trump’s decision last summer to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change does not represent the will of the American people, especially Coloradans who are already experiencing impacts of climate change such as more frequent heat waves, severe weather events, and decreased snowpack.
Today, the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC) — a coalition of 22 statewide community, faith, and environmental organizations, including 350 Colorado, Eco-Justice Ministries, Wind and Solar Denver, The Climate Mobilization Colorado and more — delivered a petition to Xcel Energy’s state headquarters in Denver asking that the utility take the lead by closing all of its remaining coal plants by 2030 and all fracked gas plants by 2035. The petition also asks that Xcel commit to sourcing at least 80% of its electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030 and that the utility complete a study by the end of 2018 that explores how to achieve 100% renewable electricity in Colorado by 2030.
The 22 CCLC member groups and other organizations that together represent over 100,000 Coloradans as well as over 3,500 individuals signed the petition asking Xcel Energy to decarbonize and to let them know #WeAreStillIn to achieve the Paris climate goals. Colorado is not alone. The response to the Trump administration’s failure to act on climate change has been forceful: 227 cities, 9 states (including Colorado), 1,641 businesses, 315 higher education institutions, and nearly 1 million individuals have committed to uphold the Paris goals as part of the #WeAreStillIn and #IAmStillIn pledges.
“Coloradans have long been expressing interest in eliminating the state’s reliance on fossil fuels due to their deadly health impacts and overwhelming contribution to global climate change,” said Micah Parkin with 350 Colorado, a member group of the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate. “Xcel Energy can help raise ambition in Colorado and make the necessary transition to renewable energy sources in time to protect the human health, environment, and communities that are at risk due to climate change and localized air pollution.”
CCLC’s call for Xcel to help mitigate the impacts of climate change comes as the utility and a variety of other stakeholders — including businesses, energy producers, municipal governments, labor and consumer interests, and environmental advocates — look to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for approval of a proposal dubbed the Colorado Energy Plan to explore a transition to cleaner, more cost effective energy resources in southern Colorado.
“Xcel Energy is making progress exploring more clean energy development in Colorado, but given the low cost of clean energy and the urgency of combating climate change, it’s clear that now is the time to raise the bar,” said Kevin Cross of Fort Collins Sustainability Group, a member group of Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate. “Xcel Energy has a great opportunity to move away from fossil fuels and provide customers with the affordable, clean energy they’re demanding.”
For a report and photos of the delivery event on November 15th, see this post on the 350 Colorado website:
The petition text follows:
Petition to Xcel for Further Commitments to Renewable Electricity
Coloradans have long been expressing our interest in eliminating our reliance on coal due to its deadly effects. We are encouraged by Xcel’s proposed Colorado Energy Plan, which will explore the closure of two coal units, and which calls for increasing renewable electricity generation to 55% of the total energy mix by 2026.
Decarbonization of the electric sector is an integral and achievable step in making the economy-wide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. We call for further reductions in the use of all fossil fuels, including fossil (“natural”) gas. Fossil gas is primarily comprised of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas with significant documented leakage rates from fracking wells and infrastructure.
We can make this transition in time to protect human health, the environment of our beautiful state, our communities, and economic viability for our children and grandchildren. As a broad coalition of citizens, faith groups, and community organizations, we request the following from Xcel by the end of this year:
- A schedule for closing all remaining coal plants in Colorado by 2030, and for closing all fossil gas plants by 2035 or earlier.
- A commitment to 80% renewable electricity in Colorado by 2030, with an aspirational goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
- A commitment to complete a study by the end of 2018 on how to achieve 100% renewable electricity in Colorado by 2030.