REMOTE (Dec. 13, 2021): The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Pollution Control Division provided the state legislature with a report on the progress the state has made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under Colorado’s 2019 climate change law (HB19-1261) signed by Governor Polis as part of a suite of climate bills passed by the legislature.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation,” said CDPHE executive director Jill Hunsaker Ryan. “It affects all of us, and impacts every other environmental challenge we face. Today’s report to the legislature makes two things clear: Colorado has taken up the banner as a leader in the global struggle against climate change, and we must continue to move forward aggressively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We owe it to all future generations of Coloradans.”

The division’s report finds that there is a technically feasible, cost-effective path to achieving the emissions reductions goals set out in the law, and the state has already made significant progress on reducing emissions. The law sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025, 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050.

Under the law, the division is required to provide the state legislature with a report on its progress every two years. The Air Quality Control Commission provided input into the final report. The division’s full report is available online. A recent summary judgment ruling by the Denver District court found that CDPHE had fulfilled its obligations under state law to finalize greenhouse gas emissions reductions rulemakings by June 1, 2020.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished since the passage of Colorado’s landmark climate change law,” said Claybourne Clarke, supervisor of the Air Pollution Control Division’s climate change unit. “But we know there is more work to do, and we are committed to an ambitious agenda that continues to ensure Colorado is a national leader in the global fight against climate change.”

2021’s environmental justice law (HB21-1266) set emissions reductions targets for specific sectors of Colorado’s economy. A recent analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund found that the state was already on pace to meet its 2025 emissions reductions targets for the oil and gas sector without even taking into account this month’s upcoming rulemaking.

Since passage of the law, the administration has taken a number of steps to reduce emissions, including:

A low- and zero-emission vehicle rule that provides Coloradans with more options for purchasing electric vehicles.

Groundbreaking new rules to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and improve emissions reporting at oil and gas operations.

The creation of a dedicated climate change unit within the Air Pollution Control Division to coordinate and focus climate policies.

Securing the closure of multiple coal-fired power units at facilities across the state.

New rules reducing emissions from pneumatic devices at oil and gas operations.

In addition, the Air Quality Control Commission is scheduled to consider further groundbreaking rules for the oil and gas industry this week that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than four million tons per year by 2030.