Colorado Voters Support Bold Climate Action Now, Passing Policies to Achieve Colorado’s Climate Goals
New legislation will help Governor Polis achieve targets supported by a majority of Coloradans, aligns with his GHG Roadmap
With Earth Day upon us, Coloradans are getting ready for a week of climate action and advocacy. In a recent memo, Global Strategy Group once again confirms what its polling has consistently shown over the past several years: Colorado voters are already seeing the impacts of climate change, and they want their legislators to take strong, timely action to fight climate change. SB-200, Reduce Greenhouse Gases Increase Environmental Justice will provide Governor Polis with the tools he needs to successfully implement his Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap and achieve the state’s quickly approaching climate goals.
The polling memo shows strong support from likely, Unaffiliated, and Latino voters for a variety of climate proposals that achieve Colorado’s emission reduction goals, including establishing limits on climate pollution, requiring polluters to pay a fee, requiring that utilities reduce emissions from natural gas, and boosting zero-emission vehicle emissions standards. The memo also demonstrates that a political candidate who supports “strong government action to combat climate change” enjoys a 13-point advantage over a candidate who opposes such action. More specifically, the polling found that:
- Voters overwhelmingly agree that “with the recent wildfires and droughts, climate change is already having a serious impact on Colorado,” and nearly two-thirds of voters want to see their state legislator “support strong action this year to combat climate change.”
- Nearly two-thirds of voters support climate proposals that will guarantee the state meets its targets to reduce the pollution that causes climate change by setting limits on how many tons of climate pollution sources can emit, with penalties for excess emissions.
- By a similarly large margin, voters support proposals that would require utilities to reduce emissions from natural gas and create incentives for lower-emission solutions like weatherization or appliances that run on electricity rather than gas.
The polling has been consistent and clear: a majority of Colorado voters – including strong majorities among all-important Unaffiliated voters – support bold climate action and believe that any delay is not an option. During the first legislative hearing for SB-200 on Tuesday, April 20, state legislators will have the opportunity to show voters that they, too, are serious about strong climate action and making timely progress to achieve Colorado’s emissions reduction goals.
“Recent wildfires and droughts mean climate change is front of mind for Coloradans and support for climate action is high,” said Kelly Nordini, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado. “Voters support bold action to cut pollution and move us toward the clean economy of the future. To advance the Colorado-style recovery that voters want and deserve, our leaders should keep building on important climate action, pass SB-200, and ensure we hit the science-based targets in state law by enacting Governor Polis’ climate roadmap.”
“Colorado lawmakers have a critical opportunity this session to pass strong and ambitious policies that get Colorado on track to reach our climate pollution reduction goals and protect Coloradans from the devastating impacts of climate change,” said Erin Overturf, Western Resource Advocates’ Clean Energy Program deputy director. “The science is clear that we must quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to preserve a livable planet for ourselves and our children, and voters want action now. By passing SB-200, Colorado lawmakers can follow the will of the voters and take action to limit pollution and achieve our climate goals.”
SB-200 provides Governor Polis with the tools he needs to achieve the goals outlined in his Roadmap. While the Governor’s Roadmap provides a valuable overview of sector-specific emission reduction trajectories that would be consistent with meeting Colorado’s science-based climate goals and identifies high-level policy concepts the state could pursue, it lacks important details. The sector-specific greenhouse gas pollution limits in SB-200 are taken directly from the Air Quality Control Commission’s “Resolution to Ensure Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals are Met,” which quantifies what will need to be achieved in each sector in order to ensure Colorado is on track to meet the science-based climate goals established in HB 19-1261. Yet, SB-200 also provides flexibility: the AQCC can still account for complimentary pollution reduction efforts undertaken by other entities at the state or federal level and can adjust the sector-specific targets as needed, so long as the overall level of pollution is not exceeded. Click here for more information about SB-200.
About Conservation Colorado:
Conservation Colorado is the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization working to protect our climate, communities, land, and water through our offices in Carbondale, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction, and Pueblo. For more information, visit www.conservationco.org.
About Western Resource Advocates:
Western Resource Advocates works to protect the West’s land, air, and water so that our communities exist 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: www.westernresourceadvocates.org and follow us on Twitter @wradv and #ProtectTheWest.