Closing #Colorado’s Decarbonization Gap — @BigPivots #ActOnClimate – Coyote Gulch

Lawmakers consider how to reduce emissions from buildings, clean the air in the Front Range and integrate agriculture into the decarbonization effort

Conventional wisdom holds that politicians are reluctant to take major initiatives in election years. Some think that’s on the line in Colorado this year. After all, inflation is at work, energy prices are rising, and analysts are predicting a tough election year for Democrats in Congress.

But while Colorado’s 2022 climate and energy legislative agenda certainly won’t match 2019’s, or 2021’s, it’s shaping up to be an impressive year to advance work to meet the goals of economy-wide decarbonization of 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. .

“It probably won’t be a session full of climate change transformation legislation like 2019 and 2021, but there are some really great bills, said Jacob Smith, executive director of Colorado Communities for Climate Action, a coalition of 40 local governments. .

An all-electric house. Credit: REWIRE AMERICA

Lawmakers are considering bills to advance Colorado’s efforts to reduce emissions associated with buildings, clean up poor air quality along the northern Front Range and bring the agricultural sector into the decarbonization effort.

Courtesy of Microgrid Knowledge

Others deal with microgrids, the potential for carbon storage and funding for the state’s Just Transition Office, the agency created in 2019 to reinvent coal communities and workers.

In 2019, lawmakers passed a remarkable set of bills that essentially pivoted Colorado’s energy system in ways that had never been done. Most important were economy-wide decarbonization targets.

Only 2004, when Colorado voters adopted the first renewable energy portfolio standard, come close to the same energy pivot.

The 2019 tsunami was made possible by heightened concerns about climate change, but also by a change in the Colorado Senate that gave Democrats majorities in both chambers. This came at the same time as Jared Polis took office after his campaign on a 100% renewable electricity platform by 2040.

Then came 2020 – and the covid shutdown, followed by a flood of even more powerful bills in 2021, including several targeting methane from extraction to end use in buildings. At least one of the ideas adopted in 2021 was first proposed in 2007 but never came close to the finish line.

It’s time to catch up, to fill in the gaps.

“Last year, we basically had two legislative sessions in one, and we accomplished a lot, and now we have to work on implementing it,” says Mike Kruger, chief executive of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association. It won’t require as much legislation. “, he specifies. “It’s more of a regulatory job.”

Yet even as they awaited the governor’s signature on many of the more than 30 bills that had passed, state lawmakers signaled they knew there was still a lot of work to do. State Senator Steve Feinberg, then Majority Leader (and now Senate President), said a top priority for the 2022 session would be legislation to improve air quality along the Front Range. . Sen. Chris Hansen said he is considering how to integrate agriculture into Colorado’s decarbonization.

In September, Hansen revealed at a fundraiser that he intended to introduce legislation that would set interim decarbonization goals for Colorado. These new goals — for 2028 and for 2040 — are intended to create a stable trajectory for Colorado’s decarbonization efforts, to avoid the tendency to push decarbonization back until a last-night cram session before the test.

When did Hansen decide it was necessary?

“I think that was part of what I basically do every summer and fall, which is really trying to think about the big gaps, where they are and which, if you were to fill them, you would make the most of. money when it comes to decarbonization,” Hansen said in an interview.

“So I’m always trying to think about this supply curve, opportunities to reduce carbon, let’s do the cheapest and the easiest as fast as we can. And that’s really kind of driving my process. policy development.

Meanwhile, in Boulder, State Rep. Edie Hooton was thinking about microgrids, and in Longmont, Rep. Tracey Bernett was thinking about both air quality and buildings.

This week, bills for buildings.

See: Colorado carrots and sticks for buildings

Next week, air quality, agriculture and other bills.


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