Wildfires make work to reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions even more crucial, Gov. Polis says | CraigDailyPress.com

Wildfires make work to reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions even more crucial, Gov. Polis says

In an address to state air-quality regulators, Polis reaffirmed ambitious climate-related goals. But some say the roadmap to reach them lacks urgency.

Mark Jaffe / Colorado Sun
The East Troublesome fire in Grand County grew to 170,000 acres on Thursday, making it the second largest wildfire recorded in Colorado. Three of the four largest fires in state history have occurred this year, some say due to conditions created by climate change.
Courtesy Photo

Even as massive wildfires swept across northern Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday urged  state air regulators to “never take our eye from the ball of the climate crisis.”

The fires that have engulfed the state for months only underscore the need to meet the state’s  goal of reducing  greenhouse gas emissions, which have been linked to climate change and  an increased fire season in the West.

“We’ve had our two largest fires in the history of Colorado this year and the fourth largest as well,” Polis said in an address to the Air Quality Control Commission. “This only emphasizes the importance of this work, your work.”

The AQCC was given the task, in legislation passed in 2019, of issuing rules and plans to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 26% in 2025, 50% in 2030 and 90% by 2050.

But some environmental groups and former air commission members have criticized the governor and the commission for not pressing for deadlines on rulemakings and broader greenhouse gas rules, such as a cap on total emissions from industry and utilities.

The governor said that the administration’s Colorado Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap, released in September, will enable the state to meet the targets of reducing emissions of the heat-trapping gases.

“You need a roadmap to know where you are going,” Polis said. “If you don’t know where you are going you are not going to get there.”

The roadmap, however, has drawn criticism from some environmental and community groups for lacking deadlines or specific emissions reduction goals.

“No roadmap will get us to our goals if it is missing the policies that can actually guarantee pollution goes down, ” Pam Kiely, senior director for regulatory strategy at the Environmental Defense Fund, said in an email.

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

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