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Opinion: Colorado needs to get on track to meet greenhouse-gas targets

Since its inception, our country has operated on the assumption that our environment is expendable, and the extraction of its resources is the only way to become profitable. At Good Business Colorado we believe differently. 

Good Business Colorado consists of more than 300 Colorado businesses that are profitable while maintaining responsible resource stewardship and ethical business practices by taking care of their people and the planet. 

Our members, and other businesses across Colorado, are dependent on the state’s tourism, outdoor industry and agricultural sectors. Without bold steps to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, these resources, along with Colorado businesses, will suffer irreversible consequences.

Karen Moldovan

Good Business Colorado members applaud recent climate-change mitigation legislation and are encouraged by Gov. Jared Polis’ proposed budget, which would provide additional funds to further bolster clean energy financing, revitalize main streets and initiate a just transition from fossil fuel jobs to ones that will exist in a carbon-free economy. 

However, Colorado’s recently released draft Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Reduction Roadmap fails to effectively demonstrate how the state plans to reduce climate pollution and meet statutory climate targets. 

At Good Business Colorado, we are concerned the identified path forward is neither aggressive enough to reach targets set forth by Colorado lawmakers, nor does it establish an enforceable backstop to ensure statutory compliance.

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

Businesses need certainty to operate and make investments in the long-term interests of both the business and the community. Investing in regional communities capitalizes on the multiplier effect by providing mutual benefits for Colorado’s economy and environment. 

A concerted effort is needed to ensure Colorado’s independent businesses are provided the resources and knowledge necessary to mitigate climate change with a focus on developing resilient regional supply networks. In turn, this focus addresses transportation emissions, becoming Colorado’s No. 1 GHG emitting sector, from vehicle miles traveled and interstate/international shipping.

Coloradans want to be part of the climate change solution, but we need our leaders to support policies that spark innovation. For example, in 2004, Colorado voters passed the first Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard in the U.S., making the state a leader in renewable energy. 

Since then, we have fallen behind and are no longer a leader in the deployment of solar energy or the innovation of new technology. Colorado has a 105 MW cap on community solar that limits progress, while Minnesota has already completed projects with 705 MW of operational capacity. 

Southern California is installing a hydrogen passenger rail car; Washington, D.C., has a community-wide solar program; the Northeast region has a goal of reaching 50% local food procurement by 2060, and Utah is converting a coal-fired power plant into a renewable hydrogen production facility. 

The final Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Roadmap (due soon) should boldly reflect Coloradans capacity for innovation and ingenuity.

If we’re going to protect Colorado’s climate, natural resources, and businesses, we need to take action. To start, we should immediately get on track to meet Colorado’s climate targets, which call for a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and a 50% reduction by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. 

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, the respiratory health impacts of air pollution – typically faced by low-income communities and communities of color — cannot be ignored. Supporting Colorado’s businesses and ensuring they can thrive now and into the future goes hand-in-hand with aggressive climate action. 

We are calling on Polis, state regulators and our legislators to get us on track to meet Colorado’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. We will not get a second chance.


Karen Moldovan is the director of policy for Good Business Colorado, an organization of business owners working to build a prosperous economy, equitable communities and a sustainable environment.


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