Monday, November 5, 2007

Colorado Governor Ritter releases climate action plan

Gov. Bill Ritter today released Colorado's first Climate Action Plan,
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

"Climate change is our generation's greatest environmental challenge,"
Gov. Ritter said. "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

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

· 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
· 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.
· Partner with research institutions and industry to develop
clean-coal technologies, and urge the federal government to accelerate
financial investments and incentives.

"The success of this very balanced plan depends on everyone doing
their part and taking personal responsibility for our future," Gov.
Ritter said. "I have no doubt that we can turn the challenges we face
into opportunities, keep our economy strong and vibrant, and preserve
Colorado's environment for our children and our grandchildren."

Specific Action Items Gov. Ritter Will Take Under This Climate Plan:

· By the end of this year, issue a climate change executive
order that establishes a 20 percent greenhouse-gas emissions-reduction
goal by 2020, and directs all state agencies to join a statewide
effort to achieve this goal.

· Direct the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to work with
public and private entities to develop an agricultural carbon offset

· Direct the Colorado Air Quality Control Division to propose
clean car greenhouse gas emission standards within one to two years.

· Direct the Governor's Energy Office to launch an Industrial
Energy Efficiency Program to encourage large industrial customers to
implement efficiency measures.

· Direct the Governor's Energy Office to provide bi-annual
reports on the status of renewable energy development acrossColorado,
and suggest measures to accelerate development.

· Call on Congress and the President to accelerate development
of clean-coal technologies.

· Direct the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and
CDPHE to resolve hurdles to geologic sequestration and identify
potential sequestration sites in Colorado.

· Request the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to seek
from each utility within its jurisdiction an Electric Resource Plan
that will include an analysis of how the utility will reduce
emissions. The order will also instruct appropriate state agencies to
remove barriers and help utilities achieve these goals.

· Amend the April 2007 "Greening of State Government"
executive order to establish a 75 percent by 2020 waste diversion goal
for state government.

· Direct the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division to begin
examining guidelines that would phase in mandatory reporting of
greenhouse gas emissions by major emitters.

About Climate Change and Its Impact on Colorado

· In the last century, global temperatures have increased 1.4
degrees Fahrenheit.

· The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that
global temperatures could increase 3.6 to 10.4 degrees by the end of
this century under a "business as usual" scenario.

· The past 12 years in Colorado were the warmest on record.

· Colorado is experiencing or could experience:

o Warmer and shorter winters, thinner snowpack and earlier runoff.

o Less precipitation, with more falling as rain rather than
snow, and longer droughts.

o Widespread pine beetle infestations in Colorado forests.

o Longer and more intense wildfire seasons.

o Lower river flows, less hydroelectric power production,
degraded water quality and more stress on reservoirs.

Five Easy Steps You Can Take to Address Climate Change

· Travel smart: Walk, bike, use mass transit, drive a hybrid
vehicle, drive slower, keep tires fully inflated and carpool.

· Waste not, watt not: Replace incandescent bulbs with compact
fluorescent bulbs.

· Live smart at home: Use a low-flow showerhead, insulate your
water heater and pipes, open windows at night in summer, lower the
thermostat in winter, buy Energy Star appliances, and hang your
clothes out to dry.

· Buy green power: If your electric utility offers wind power,
buy it; install solar panels on your home.

· Reduce, re-use, recycle: Buy recycled and recyclable
products, use reusable shopping bags, say "no" to plastic shopping
bags, recycle household waste, and compost kitchen scraps and yard