Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Colorado Climate Action Plan Includes "Clean Car" Standards

Nov 5: Colorado's Democratic Governor Bill Ritter released the State's first Climate Action Plan, which according to a release is an ambitious call to action that establishes firm goals and clear strategies to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and also provides simple suggestions so everyone in Colorado can address global warming. Ritter said, "Climate change is our generation's greatest environmental challenge. It threatens our economy, our Western way of life and our future. It will change every facet of our existence, and unless we address it and adapt to it, the results will be catastrophic for generations to come. I strongly believe we can make a difference. In setting and achieving the goals in this Colorado Climate Action Plan, we will continue to expand the New Energy Economy, show leadership as a state, increase our energy security, and call on the federal government to take strong action."

Ritter indicated that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity have grown by 35% in Colorado from 1990 to 2005. The largest contributors are electricity consumption (36%) and transportation (23%). The Climate Action Plan, which includes an agricultural carbon sequestration and offset program, establishes two greenhouse-gas reduction goals: 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The agricultural program would enlist farmers and ranchers to participate in a regional consortium to sequester carbon and reduce emissions on agricultural lands, and sell the resulting carbon credits over a multi-state region.

Other strategies in the Climate Action Plan include: Move toward "clean car" standards to ensure automakers reduce emissions in new vehicles; Work collaboratively to reduce emissions from investor-owned utilities by 20% by 2020 and create reasonable goals for other utilities; Expand voluntary, and over time phase in mandatory, emission reporting requirements for major greenhouse gas producers; Adopt energy-efficiency programs to reduce the demand for electrical energy; Expand renewable energy opportunities; and Partner with research institutions and industry to develop clean-coal technologies, and urge the federal government to accelerate financial investments and incentives.

Environmental Defense issued a release pointing out that Colorado had become the 17th state to move forward with clean car standards that will lower global warming and smog pollution, reduce dependence on foreign oil and save consumers money at the pump. Colorado joins 16 other states, which collectively account for nearly 50% of the total U.S. population, in taking action to adopt the innovative standards including: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington. Environmental Defense indicated that this week the State of California is expected to file its lawsuit pressing EPA to make a decision on California’s waiver request so that it and other states like Colorado can implement their clean cars laws. The California lawsuit has been delayed due to the wildfires in Southern California.

Access a release from Governor Ritter and link to the 35-page Colorado Climate Action Plan (
click here). Access a release from Environmental Defense (click here). [*Climate]