Ambitious plan for cap-and-trade greenhouse gas cuts rejected by Colorado Air Quality Control Commission |

Ambitious plan for cap-and-trade greenhouse gas cuts rejected by Colorado Air Quality Control Commission

Environmental Defense Fund and allies want tougher, faster cuts to climate change pollutants, but commissioners and Gov. Jared Polis says the plan is too complex and current rules should get time to work.

Michael Booth
Colorado Sun

An ambitious proposal by environmental groups for a market-based cap-and-trade program delivering faster cuts to Colorado greenhouse gas emissions was rejected Friday afternoon by the state Air Quality Control Commission, which called it intriguing but too complex and expensive to execute now.

Commissioners voted 7 to 1 to reject a petition from the Environmental Defense Fund and allies to create rules for a cap-and-trade program covering all carbon dioxide emissions in the state, and hold public hearings by the end of this year. The commission is in the middle of a detailed two-year rulemaking process to require emissions cuts across multiple industries.

Environmental groups that favor a cap-and-trade system say Colorado is already falling well behind emission reduction targets codified in state law: Benchmarked against statewide emissions in 2005, the law says Colorado must cut greenhouse pollutants 26% by 2025, 50% in 2030 and 90% in 2050.

Ideas to reduce emissions proposed in Gov. Jared Polis’ January Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Roadmap, even if fully implemented, will leave Colorado 30 million metric tons of CO2 short of the 2025 goal, from a current total of about 130 million metric tons. That “gap” grows to 109 million tons under 2050’s tight limits.

“When the building is on fire, someone has to be responsible for dousing the flames,” said Pam Kiely, EDF’s senior director of regulatory strategy.

Polis and the executive branch office that serves the commission, the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, had formally opposed the EDF petition for a cap-and-trade program.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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