On May 30, 2019, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 19-1261, the Climate Action Plan, into law. This legislation amends Colorado’s Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act and commits the state to economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals of 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050. The Act also requires the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission to develop implementing regulations consistent with these targets. Further revisions through Senate Bill 19-096 to Colorado’s Act require the Air Quality Control Commission to propose regulations “by July 1, 2020 that would cost-effectively allow the state to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.”
Meeting these goals will require significant emission reductions across Colorado’s economy including in the electric, transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. This analysis reviews the statutory emission reduction goals in the context of Colorado’s historic and projected emissions through 2030 under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario. It then evaluates potential emission reductions from a range of illustrative sector-specific strategies to inform discussions on the potential scale of GHG emission reductions that could be expected depending on the breadth and ambition of each illustrative strategy. The abatement strategies considered in this paper are neither exhaustive, prescriptive, nor exclusive in nature. Rather, they constitute a set of illustrative strategies that may be deployed to drive GHG emission reductions across different sectors of the state’s economy. Some abatement strategies could be implemented through regulatory change resulting in enforceable emission reductions; other strategies could require several policy changes.
UPDATE: This paper was originally published on February 18, 2020. It was modified on February 28, 2020, to include a call-out box on page 4.