DATE: September 20, 2017
Stacy Tellinghuisen, Senior Climate Policy Analyst, WRA
Jessica Goad, Communications Director, Conservation Colorado
Joan Clayburgh, Communications Director, WRA

New Analysis: How Colorado Can Meet State & International Climate Change Targets

Groups Outline “Blueprint” of Legislative and Executive Policies to Limit Climate Impacts

After weeks of hurricanes and wildfires made more potent by climate change, Western Resource Advocates and Conservation Colorado today released a new analysis showing the specific policies that the state legislature and executive agencies should implement in order to drive the carbon pollution reductions scientists say are needed to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change and to be consistent with the goals outlined in Governor John Hickenlooper’s recent executive order on climate change.

The report shows that there is a clear path for Colorado to do its part to address climate change, and calls on the state legislature and current and future governors to:

  • Adopt state-wide carbon pollution goals to reduce emissions at least 45% below 2005 levels by 2030, and 90% below 2005 levels by 2050. This is consistent with the goals of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which Governor Hickenlooper joined in July, and the levels scientists say are necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 – 2° Celsius. The governor’s executive order set a goal of a 26 percent reduction by 2025, but we must build on that by establishing pollution limits for 2030 and 2050.
  • Advance policies that drive carbon pollution reductions in key sectors, including the electricity, transportation, industrial, and commercial sectors. Specific policy recommendations for each sector and the amount of carbon pollution they can reduce are shown in the graph below, and detailed in the report.
  • Enact a market-based policy to cap carbon pollution, such as a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program. The modelling in the report shows that sector-specific policies alone are not enough to drive the needed carbon pollution reductions and that market-based policies can help Colorado achieve the cheapest reductions in carbon pollution.

”Climate change is already causing more severe wildfires, droughts, flooding and other harm to our communities and current carbon pollution reduction plans are not enough to avoid even more severe impacts in the future,” said Jon Goldin-Dubois, President of Western Resource Advocates. “Our state, businesses, local governments, and communities need to get behind comprehensive statewide action on climate change to reduce carbon pollution by 45% by 2030 and to ensure a healthy and resilient economy.”

“Our new report shows that there is a clear and feasible path forward on how exactly Colorado can do its part to tackle climate change,” said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director at Conservation Colorado. “Governor Hickenlooper’s important actions on climate change this summer set us on the right path, and now we need to embrace the challenge and implement specific policies that grow our clean energy economy and defend against the impact of climate change that we’re already feeling in our state.”


· For the executive summary of the report visit here.
· For an interactive digital summary visit here.
· For the full report visit here.


Western Resource Advocates works to protect the West’s land, air, and water so that our communities thrive in balance with nature. WRA’s team of scientists, lawyers, and economists craft and implement innovative solutions to the most complex natural resource challenges in the region. For more information visit and follow us on Twitter @WRADV.

Conservation Colorado fights for Colorado’s environment and quality of life by mobilizing people and electing conservation-minded policymakers. For more information visit or follow us on Twitter @ConservationCO.