Colorado positions itself as climate leader with landmark legislation

Gov. Jared Polis signed off on a bill that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through pollution reduction goals.
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Members of POW's Alliance Board with Colorado governor, climate change

POW Alliance board members attended the bill signing on Thursday. Polis is holding the POW sign on the right.

Because the U.S. backed out of the Paris climate agreement more than a year ago, somebody had to take the lead on fighting climate change. Just this week, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law that aims to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

The first goal? Achieve 26-percent lower emissions by 2025, only six years from now, and eventually 90-percent lower by 2050.

"When Trump pulled the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, it kind of left it to the states to take the lead against climate change," said Jordan Jones, owner of Powder7 in Golden. "This bill shows that Colorado is doing that. And as a part of Colorado's outdoor industry, especially in a sport that depends on snow, we are thrilled to see this progress."

In the JeffCo Community Solar Garden in Arvada, Polis put his mark on the landmark Climate Action Plan (HB-1261), which was backed by state legislators on both sides of the aisle, and the outdoor community of individuals and businesses, including Protect Our Winters.

The legislation is a step in the right direction, climate activists say, and especially for a state notoriously known for its rising emissions. Polis also signed six other key energy bills, two of which include HB-1231 sets new efficiency standards for many household appliances and HB-1250 requires local governments to adopt efficient building codes. He also unveiled his roadmap to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.

“This is our plan for creating a pathway to 100 percent renewable energy in our state, creating good green jobs that can never be outsourced, and saving people money on electricity,” Polis said in a statement. “The roadmap is not just about a vision, but includes concrete steps that will help us reap the economic benefits of renewable energy, curb pollution of our air, and fight climate change. Colorado has always been a leader in clean-tech innovation and we have no intentions of slowing down.”

In partnership with Colorado’s Climate Future Coalition, POW mobilized the outdoor community through social media, texts, email, and print and digital advertising. More than 2,000 individuals contacted their legislators, according to POW. 

“I am prouder than ever to call Colorado home,” said Olympic medalist Arielle Gold, an outspoken advocate of the bill and a POW Alliance member. “From testifying in support of this bill in front of Congress to a signature from Gov. Jared Polis this week, it has been truly incredible to see HB 1261 move up the political ladder. Experiencing POW’s influence firsthand and taking part in climate action makes me truly excited for continued contribution to this organization.”

Along with Gold, Leadville Trail 100 winner Clare Gallagher, alpinist Matt Segal, top outdoor brands Spyder Active Sports and La Sportiva testified at House and Senate hearings.

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