The road to greenhouse gas cuts: Are Colorado drivers ready? |

The road to greenhouse gas cuts: Are Colorado drivers ready?

Power plants and oil drillers are cutting back emissions, now this is the year your car gets involved.

A traveler tries out the new electric charging station at the Colorado Welcome Center in Dinosaur in August 2020. (Courtesy Photo / Moffat County Tourism Association)

When Colorado’s greenhouse gas battle comes to her Wheat Ridge driveway, Jan Rose will be ready.

Rose believes heart and soul that if the state wants to hit benchmarks of 90% cuts to polluting emissions by 2050, Coloradans will have to drive less, and if they do drive, use a clean electric car. Recent successful trims to power plant and petroleum drilling emissions will not be enough on their own.

So Rose is sharing the pain and the gain. She installed home solar panels that run her electricity and sometimes produce extra to send out to the grid, where Xcel pays her for it. Then she set up an electric vehicle charging station so neighbors can plug in and pay her a small amount through a phone app. A bright blue sign in her yard points neighbors to a charge cord dangling from an outlet just behind her recycling bins.

“I can’t escape climate change,” said Rose, an enthusiastic outdoorswoman who has watched drought claim snowfields, and a commuter who has watched Denver’s brown cloud evolve over time. “I might as well try to do something about it.”

Drivers have reached the onramp for Colorado’s road to greenhouse gas reductions. Of the three primary contributors of emissions benchmarked in a 2005 study, electric power generators have made substantial changes by retiring dirty coal-fired plants and commissioning massive wind and solar arrays. Oil and gas drillers and distributors, a second major emissions leg, have seen federal leasing pauses and demands to cap damaging methane emissions, with more petroleum regulation on the way.

Transportation-generated emissions — the third leg — are now the largest portion of the problem, as set out in Gov. Jared Polis’ January release of the final Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap. The delayed 2021 Legislature will take up bills to combat transportation emissions, and regulatory agencies like the Air Quality Control Commission will spend parts of the next two years holding public hearings and finishing complex rules for the transportation sector.

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

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