Coloradans deserve BOLD action on climate!

We’re launching a new campaign to urge stronger climate action from Governor Polis!

This week we launched a new campaign to encourage Governor Jared Polis to show us he can provide the leadership that our climate crisis demands! To start, we built on the success of our January rally (read about it here) and mailed out postcards to Coloradans about the issue, then we released the media statement below. To see what else we get up to, check back often and contact us to get involved.

SEE THE POSTCARD:

READ OUR MEDIA STATEMENT:

COLORADO – In response to recent and mounting climate-related adverse events and polls demonstrating Coloradans’ increasing concerns over climate change, wildfire and water, advocacy group 350 Colorado Action has initiated a campaign focused on urging stronger climate action from Governor Jared Polis on a number of policy issues. Polling released last month shows that 82% of Coloradans consider climate change a serious problem, with 98%  saying wildfires that threaten homes and property are a serious problem here.

The campaign calls on Gov. Polis to take action to address widespread public concern that in the three years since SB 19-181 and HB 19-1261 were signed into law, the situation with regards to oil and gas pollution, impacts on Colorado communities and our state’s contribution toward the climate crisis has failed to improve as needed. The group, along with a coalition of over 60 Colorado environmental and community groups representing hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, has urged the Governor to declare a climate emergency and take swift action with state regulatory agencies to ensure greenhouse gas emissions reductions and climate goals are reached. 

2021 was another devastating year for Coloradans with regards to increasing adverse climate impacts. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, as of July 1, 2021, at least 32,860 acres (13,300 ha) of land have burned in at least 337 wildland fires across the state. Colorado’s air quality due to wildfire smoke as well as oil and gas pollution meant increased levels of smog in 2021, with Colorado facing its worst air quality in over a decade. Ozone levels have spiked in both 2020 and 2021, accelerating the need for stronger protections at both state and local levels in order to best protect Colorado communities from adverse health impacts.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent August 2021 assessment, there is “high confidence” that human-influenced rising temperatures are a direct cause of the extension of the wildfire season, increased drought, and decreased precipitation in the southwest United States. 

Calls on Governor Polis include: 

  1. Direct the state Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to end fracking within 2,000 feet of homes and schools, end drilling approvals in highly polluted areas, and phase out oil and gas permitting by 2030. 
  2. Require the Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) to revoke permits of companies violating the Clean Air Act. 
  3. Require the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to reduce air pollution until we’re CAA (Clean Air Act) compliant. 
  4. Stop agency delays and increase enforcement relative to SB19-181 and HB19-1261 to truly protect public health and safety.

“Millions of Coloradans have already been impacted by climate change impacts, and Coloradans want stronger action on climate from our Governor to mitigate the worst climate impacts which are yet to come,” says Deborah McNamara, a volunteer with 350 Colorado Action. “Inaction at the state and federal level have left Colorado and the U.S. way off track on efforts to keep global temperature rise below 1.5-2° C. Now more than ever we need Governor Polis to truly lead on bold climate action.”

Colorado is currently not on track to meet the state’s near-term climate goals, set by HB19-1261, which called for 26% greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions by 2025 and 50% reductions by 2030. The state has only achieved a 9.5% GHG emission reduction from 2005 as of the state’s most recent GHG emissions inventory report (published 2021 for years up to 2019).

“Our state passed these protective laws, but the responsible agencies need to stop delaying the rulemakings, create and properly enforce the needed regulations,” said Micah Parkin, a 350 Colorado Action Board Member. “The world’s scientists have warned of a shrinking timeframe to keep global temperature rise below 1.5C to protect our communities from the worst impacts. Our state’s emission reduction goals are not even in line with that global goal, and still we are not on track to achieve them. Most notably, we must also take responsibility for our state’s exported oil and gas emissions, which account for over 60% of our total emissions, yet our state is currently turning a blind eye.”

The state has also not begun monitoring cumulative pollution levels per region, although this measure was required as part of SB19-181. This law required the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to make rules to address cumulative pollution to protect public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife.

“We have F-grade air quality approaching severe ozone nonattainment, as the polluting industries releasing GHG emissions are also releasing toxic chemicals into disproportionately impacted communities, whose health and wellbeing are suffering terribly,” said Bobbie Mooney, 350 Colorado Action President. “It’s time for Gov. Polis and other state leaders to say ‘enough’ and require state regulators to do their jobs and create the needed regulations to rapidly cut all of these emissions. We need a ‘moonshot’ effort to ramp up renewables and transition off fossil fuels as rapidly as possible.”


Citations: 

Calling on Gov. Jared Polis for bold climate leadership!

Thanks to all who joined us and our allies in January at the Colorado State Capitol for the State of the Climate Rally! We joined the United for Colorado’s Climate Coalition in calling for bolder climate action and calling out Governor Polis over his lack of urgency in protecting Colorado families from the climate crisis.

The event paralleled Governor Polis’s State of the State address and called for the Governor to issue an executive order declaring a climate emergency. The coalition’s demands also urge state agencies including the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to develop comprehensive plans to phase out fossil fuel production in Colorado by 2030. You can read coverage of the rally at CPR here. 

The rally built on past efforts of the United for Climate Coalition in calling on Governor Polis for stronger climate action. In November, a group representing a coalition of 30 local environmental organizations gathered on the Capitol steps to deliver a letter to Governor Polis9news was there to capture the event. The coalition – United for Colorado’s Climate – was demanding swift climate action from Governor Polis including declaring a climate emergency and phasing out oil and gas production by 2030.  Unfortunately, the Governor did not issue a response. 

Since the Fall, the coalition grew from the initial 30 groups to over 60 groups, with a more diverse representation of people across the state. Our list of demands grew as well to better center Coloradans who have been disproportionately impacted by climate change, environmental racism, and youth who will carry the burden of the decisions we make today. 

The coalition chose the date of Governor Polis’s State of the State address to host a parallel event focused on the state of Colorado’s climate. Unfortunately, our state leaders didn’t want the coalition’s presence at the Capitol on this day. The event was denied a permit, including denied permits by the city and the state for any public space within a square mile of the Capitol until the ACLU of Colorado got involved to intervene on our behalf. After consulting with a team of lawyers, including legal director Mark Silverstein, there was consensus to elevate our case to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Arguing that the 1st Amendment rights of everyday Coloradans were being violated by a blanket ban on events, the state would eventually relent and issue us a permit with only a week left before the big day.

So many hours were devoted to planning committees, community outreach, event promotionalerting the media, developing an inclusive program of speakers, and on art builds. The Green House Connection Center hosted three community gatherings in the weeks leading up to the State of the Climate Rally, producing 4,000 tissue paper flames to represent the 4,000+ oil and gas wells permitted since Governor Polis took office. So much love, time, and effort were poured into preparations for this event.

United for Climate is a coalition of over 60 groups to date and we invite everyone to join and to get involved. Please join us in calling on the governor to declare a climate emergency, to phase out fossil fuel production by 2030, and to decarbonize and electrify our energy sector.

Here’s how you can take action: 

350 Colorado will continue working with this coalition of organizations representing tens of thousands of Coloradans is calling on Governor Polis to declare a climate emergency and set Colorado on a path for a just transition away from fossil fuels, beginning by phasing out fossil fuel production by 2030 and closing all coal-fired power plants by 2025.

*In case you missed the State of the Climate Rally or want to share content from the event with others, you can watch a full recording of the day’s events here on 350 Colorado’s Facebook page, or catch select clips on 350 Colorado’s YouTube channel. If you’re sharing content on social media, make sure to check out this toolkit for a list of press hits and for instructions on how to mention Governor Polis. And remember to include the hashtags #ClimateEmergency4CO & #ClimateActionNow so others can find your post!

It’s time to end the climate silence in 2020. We need a climate debate.

Climate change is here — that’s not up for debate. From this spring’s destructive floods in the Midwest to Cyclone Idai, one of the strongest tropical storms ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere, the climate crisis is already taking its toll on 2019.

What we need to know now is what our next President is going to do about it.

The climate crisis was ignored in the 2012 and 2016 elections. Since then, the fires, storms, and floods have made it devastatingly clear: we can’t afford any more climate silence in 2020.

People across the country want to hear presidential candidates talk about climate change and their plans to tackle it. Poll after poll has made it clear that Americans are more concerned about the climate crisis than ever before — and a majority are hungry for bold, effective action like a Green New Deal.

As long as ignoring reality keeps making them and their fossil fuel billionaire funders richer, we know Trump and his oily Republican allies are going to keep their heads buried in the sands of climate denial. But most of the Democrats running to beat Trump in 2020 at least say they want to take steps to address the climate crisis — and voters deserve to hear the difference.

We’ve heard enough empty climate promises from politicians. In this election, we need to know which candidates would commit to making climate action a Day One priority in office, who’s willing to embrace bold solutions like the Green New Deal, and who will protect frontline communities and ensure a just transition for workers that leaves no one behind.

Climate change is the greatest global crisis of our time, and it will impact everything from the economy to our health to our right to prosperity and security in our homes and communities.

That’s why we’re pushing to make sure the climate crisis is front and center throughout this critical election, from now until November 2020 — and a Democratic climate debate would be the first big step in the right direction.