Published in the Boulder Daily Camera on May 27th, 2021
We would like to urge Governor Polis to sign SB21-200 into law when it gets to his desk.
In 2019, the Colorado state legislature passed the landmark climate bill, HB19-1261, which set the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2025 and 50% by 2030 from 2005 levels. Scientists have made it clear that we must meet these targets in order to prevent the worst consequences of climate change. Unfortunately, we’re not currently on track to meet these goals.
Earlier this year, Governor Polis released a promising Colorado Climate Roadmap with sector-specific objectives to reach HB-1261 targets. The only way we can successfully meet these goals is to hold industries within the electricity, oil and gas, transportation, and building sectors accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions. It’s time we close loopholes that let habitual polluters off the hook. SB-200 wll help us accomplish that.
Moreover, low income and BIPOC communities will continue to experience environmental inequity if we do not meet our science-based climate objectives. SB-200 would create desperately needed environmental justice staff, allocate funding, require actions that would engage disproportionately impacted communities, and ensure that our climate policies will work toward community benefits and restorative justice.
Our counter arguments for the administration’s opposition to SB-200 are as follows:
- Not enough time for rulemaking: We’re behind because HB-1261 does not have an enforceable deadline for processes. SB-200 fixes this problem by setting a reasonable timeline for rulemaking. AQCC will have almost another year to complete the process set out two years ago and the bill provides additional resources for AQCC to complete its work.
- The goals are too hard to achieve: These goals are challenging because we have missed the earlier time windows to address the climate crisis. Therefore, we must take every step to ensure that we will achieve our goals by making them enforceable. Backing down and claiming defeat will bring unimaginable ramifications.
- AQCC is an “unelected” entity and we should leave it to the legislators: Congress entrusts air pollution regulation to the EPA through the Clean Air Act. In the same vein, Colorado’s elected legislators have the power to entrust rulemaking authority to the government agency in charge of regulating air quality, with appointed commissioners supported by subject experts and career employees. We need certainty that we will meet our climate goals and AQCC is the entity best positioned to provide that certainty. AQCC won’t be doing this crucial work alone in a dark room, it will coordinate with other entities in and outside of the government and work with the public to achieve our climate goals.
Wildfires and drought are getting worse each year in Colorado, a sobering reminder that the climate crisis is already upon us. To avoid the worst impacts and protect future generations, we need the administration to be a champion for public health and pass bold policies that cut carbon pollution.
We strongly believe the current “try our best and see” approach is not good enough.
Failure isn’t an option when it comes to addressing the climate crisis, and every day of delay jeopardizes our health and the environment, and in particular harms our low income and BIPOC communities who are most at risk. We need certainty that we will hit our state’s climate targets. We urge the Governor to sign SB-200, which does that by equitably implementing his Climate Roadmap.
Battling climate change is a cooperative and global effort. Colorado is capable of leading the way, but we have to start right now and proceed with full determination. We have reached a point of history when true leadership is essential, and it’s our sincere hope that Governor Polis will answer the call. Our children and future generations are counting on that.
Join us this Saturday at The Green on 1056 Canyon Blvd. at 11am for the climate march and noon for the climate rally!
Sani Field and Ning Mosberger-Tang belong to the Boulder-based Blue Wave Postcard Movement.
This piece is co-signed by:
Arvadans for Progressive Action
Blue Wave Postcard Movement
Call to Action Colorado
Catholic Network US
Center for Biological Diversity
Clean Energy Action
Climate Together Nederland
Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate
Colorado Small Business Coalition
Colorado Businesses for a Livable Climate
Colorado Friends of Democracy
Colorado Working Families Party
Defend Our Future
Empower Our Future
Indivisible Colorado Action Network
Indivisible Colorado Environment
Indivisible Colorado Legislative Table
Indivisible Front Range Resistance
Indivisible Highlands Ranch
Indivisible Mountain Resistance
Indivisible South Boulder
Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety and Environment
Longmont Area Democrats
Longmont Leads with Love
Moms Clean AIr Force, Colorado Chapter
Mothers Out Front
Natural Resources Defense Council
New Era Colorado
North Range Concerned Citizens
Progress Now Colorado
Signal Tech Coalition
Sunrise Movement Colorado Springs
Sustainable Resilient Longmont
Unite North Metro Denver