Express your support for the Colorado Measurable Climate Goals Bill!

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Please e-mail members of the House Health, Insurance, and Environment Committee to express your support for the Colorado Measurable Climate Goals bill, HB17-1366. The Committee will hold a hearing on this bill on Thursday, May 4th at 1:30 p.m. in room 0107 of the State Capitol. Committee member names and contact information are available here:

http://leg.colorado.gov/committees/health-insurance-environment/2017-regular-session.

A “Fact Sheet” and “Talking Points” in support of this bill follow:

Fact Sheet for Colorado House Bill 17-1366:

Concerning a Requirement to Include Measurable Goals that are Subject to Deadlines in Colorado’s Climate Action Plan

1. This bill would amend an existing law (Colorado Revised Statutes, 24-20-111) which requires the Governor to create a position for climate change matters. The duties of that position include both the “development and periodic update of a climate action plan” and submission of “an annual report” addressing statewide emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), among other items.

2. The first and only annual report addressing statewide GHG emissions released since the approval of CRS 24-20-111 was issued in October of 2014 and titled “Colorado Greenhouse Gas Inventory – 2014 Update.” That report does not make any reference to the only GHG emissions reduction goals ever established for Colorado.

a. Those goals were set forth by Governor Ritter in 2008 through Executive Order D 004 08, and are to reduce GHG emissions 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.

b. Although incomplete, the 2014 report projects that GHG emissions will actually RISE approximately 9% compared to 2005 levels by 2020.

3. The first climate action plan released since the approval of CRS 24-20-111 was issued in September of 2015 and titled “Colorado Climate Plan: State Level Policies and Strategies to Mitigate and Adapt.” That report makes only cursory references to the GHG emissions goals established by Governor Ritter, and does not propose any new goals.

4. House Bill 17-1366 would add the following requirements to the climate action plan updates and annual reports required by CRS 24-20-111:

a. The periodic climate action plan updates would need to include “measurable goals based on the best available science that are at least as ambitious as the goals established by the Governor’s Executive Order D004 08” that would both reduce Colorado’s GHG emissions and increase Colorado’s adaptive capability to respond to climate change. These goals would be subject to near-term, mid-term, and long-term deadlines.

b. The annual reports would need to include an analysis of the progress made in meeting the goals established in the climate action plan.

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Talking Points for Colorado House Bill 17-1366:

Concerning a Requirement to Include Measurable Goals that are Subject to Deadlines in Colorado’s Climate Action Plan

General Points

1. Although the most recent Colorado Climate Plan was released in September of 2015, that Plan does not include measurable goals. Measurable goals are needed in order for Colorado to regain its leadership in responding to the threat of climate change. House Bill 17-1366 would require:

a. The creation of measurable goals focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the State,

b. The establishment of deadlines for the accomplishment of those goals, and

c. That annual reports analyze the State’s progress toward its goals.

2. What doesn’t get measured typically doesn’t get done!

Environmental and Health Impacts

1. Global climate change (GCC) is already having measurable impacts on average temperatures, precipitation patterns, wildfire frequencies and intensities, land and sea ice amounts, disease transmission, sea level rise, and ocean acidity. Coloradans are impacted directly by the first five items. The time to act – both by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) and employing adaptive strategies (adaptation) – is now.

2. Colorado has a special responsibility and special opportunities to lead in addressing GCC due to:

a. Our geography (continental interiors warm more rapidly than coastal areas), our dry climate, and our dependence on snow pack for water;

b. Our historical reliance on coal and other fossil fuels;

c. The relative availability of sunlight and wind for renewable power generation; and

d. Our economic strength compared to other regions of the United States and other countries.

3. A stronger state climate planning process would bring health benefits to Colorado, due to anticipated reductions in power plant and vehicular emissions. For example, we would likely be able to reduce the approximately 500 deaths that are attributable annually to air pollution in Colorado’s five major metropolitan areas.

Economic Impacts

1. Currently, Colorado’s wind industry employs between 6,000 and 7,000 people, while Colorado’s solar industry employs about 4,000 people. As a whole, the “Cleantech” sector – which also includes fuel cells, hydroelectric power, green transportation, and research in addition to wind and solar – employs over 23,000 Coloradans. A stronger state climate planning process would increase these numbers, while also helping to address climate change.

2. Clear state greenhouse gas goals will allow businesses leaders to better plan for the future of their enterprises.

3. The average temperature in the Rocky Mountain region has increased by about 2° F since the middle of the 19th Century. Under a business-as-usual global emissions scenario, the average temperature will increase another 10 – 12° F by the end of the 21st Century. Failure to make a serious effort to address climate change will have negative economic consequences, including the following:

a. Wildfires will continue to increase in frequency and intensity as temperatures and evaporation rates continue to increase. Insured losses for the 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire alone were nearly half a billion dollars.

b. The likelihood of extended droughts will also increase. Such droughts will have severe negative impacts on Colorado’s $8 billion agricultural sector.

c. Snowfall and snowpack levels will decline as well. Less snow will have a negative impact on Colorado’s $5 billion ski industry.