Colorado Greenhouse Gas Reduction Shows Progress

Polis Administration’s Landmark Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap Shows Continued Progress Building Healthier, Cleaner Colorado for All

DENVER – In the past six months, the Polis Administration has both made historic investments and implemented numerous other initiatives aimed at cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution emissions, according to a newly released biannual progress report on the Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.

“We are fighting for clean air and taking action to achieve 100% renewable energy in Colorado by 2040, and this progress report confirms that our hard work is paying off,” said Gov. Polis.  “Coloradans can count on me to keep fighting for a clean, healthy, safe Colorado for all.  We are turning plans into action, saving Coloradans money on energy bills and protecting the health and safety of all Coloradans.”

Jointly drafted by the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), this report is required every six months as part of a July 2021 Executive Order signed by Governor Polis.  These reports ensure that the public is kept up-to-date on the work agencies are doing to meet the GHG Roadmap’s goals.  The last report was released in December 2021.

As outlined in the report, Governor Polis signed into law legislation that allocated transformational support for improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas pollution including funding for electric school buses; funding free transit fares statewide during ozone season, industrial clean air and decarbonization grants; and support for building electrification.

Other highlights from the past six months include:

  • Progress on both electric resource plans and clean energy plans from state utilities.  For example, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s electric resource plan in April. It achieves at least an 80% emission reduction by 2030.  In June, Black Hills Energy filed its clean energy plan with the PUC, which is designed to achieve a 90% emissions reduction by 2030.
  • The completion of a seven-city cross-agency listening tour aimed at gathering community input on priorities, concerns and ideas concerning climate change and the state’s response to the climate crisis. (May and June 2022)
  • A greening government Executive Order signed by Governor Polis that builds that ensures energy efficiency and sustainability in State buildings; expands renewable energy use and building electrification; transitions state fleets to electric vehicles; and allow the State’s workforce to continue providing efficient, high-quality services to Coloradans while protecting our environment and reducing GHG emissions from state facilities and operations. (April 2022)
  • The Transportation Commission approved a policy directive that quantifies almost 50 types of projects that reduce GHG emissions, including bike/ped, transit, land use, and transportation demand management, to help reach emissions reductions outlined in the GHG Pollution Reduction Planning Standards. (May 2022)
  • The creation of an interagency strategic plan that highlights administrative and legislative priorities on natural climate solutions for the next two to five years. (June 2022)

This report also provides additional detail and context for other near-term actions identified in the Colorado Greenhouse Gas Roadmap.  Progress on these efforts are also reported as part of the Governor’s Bold Four goals, including setting Colorado on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2040 and positioning Colorado as a leader in the clean energy economy. Along with this biannual report, state agencies must detail the percentage of Near Term Actions on track on a quarterly basis.  To date, the State is on track for 90% of Near Term Actions.

“Over the past six month, we’ve made important economy-wide headway in setting ourselves up for success when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” said CEO executive director Will Toor.  “This report is an important reminder that in all aspects of our state government, we are focused on reaching the vital clean energy and climate goals that Governor Polis has set for Colorado.”

The Greenhouse Gas Roadmap identified specific Near Term Actions.  These policies and programs, as modeled in the Roadmap, will accomplish a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, all while improving air quality, advancing equity, and reducing energy costs for Coloradans.  The report discusses progress made to date, as well as additional actions in development, including the Governor’s proposed fiscal year 2022-23 budget which includes over half a billion dollars of one-time investments in air quality and climate action.