Colorado is Vulnerable to Climate Change:
- Over the past 30 years, statewide annual average temperatures have increased by 2°F according to a state-commissioned study. Due to this, Colorado has had to endure more heat waves, drier soils and more frequent and severe wildfires.
- Climate change threatens the Colorado’s ski and snowboarding industry. A low snowfall year costs the state an estimated $117 million and about 1800 jobs. Ice on Niwot Ridge and the adjacent Green Lakes Valley in the high mountains west of Colorado will continue to melt as the climate warms further.
Colorado's Energy Efforts and Opinions:
- According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 63% of Colorado residents recognize that global warming is real. While only 36% believe global warming will harm them personally, 64% say it will harm future generations.
- As part of the Clean Power Plan, Colorado is continuing to work towards reducing state emissions by 38.3% from 2012 level by 2030. Under the Colorado government’s Climate Action Plan, the state has set a goal of reducing emissions 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.
- In 2011, Colorado published a Climate Preparedness Project Final Report with 72 distinct climate adaptation goals. The Georgetown Climate Center has assessed that Colorado has made progress on 34 of these goals, including incorporating climate considerations in the Statewide Water Supply Initiative, the state’s comprehensive water plan.
- Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) supports the Clean Power Plan while Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) has challenged it in court. Colorado will continue with its planning despite the Supreme Court’s stay.
- Colorado was the first state to establish a Renewable Portfolio Standard, which was challenged and deemed constitutional by the 10th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals last year. The state has set a goal of deriving 30% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
- Colorado is a national leader in wind energy. In 2014, 18% of the state’s electricity was generated from renewable resources. At one point in November 2015, wind provided 66.4% of the electricity on the main Colorado grid.
- The Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication also gauged Colorado’s support for policies to address climate change. It suggests that 78% of state residents support funding more research into renewable energy and 76% are in favor of regulating CO2 as a pollutant.