At the end of May, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) took initial steps to implement Colorado’s landmark Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan, passed in 2019, sets targets of reducing Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26%, 50%, and 90% below 2005 emission levels by 2025, 2030, and 2050, respectively. The AQCC is the state regulator responsible for ensuring these targets are met.
The AQCC’s initial steps included adopting rules that require electric utilities, industry, and many other major sources to report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the State each year. Through the new reporting rules, the State will be able to develop a better understanding of the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted in Colorado, which will allow the development of a more accurate greenhouse gas inventory to help the state refine regulations over time and track progress towards meeting Colorado’s science-based GHG emission reduction targets. In addition, the adopted rules require a phase-out of the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent greenhouse gases used in refrigerators, air conditioning systems, and some building materials. Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell represented an environmental group and a coalition of more than 34 local governments acting on climate change in the rulemaking.
While these initial regulatory steps are important, the AQCC must take additional actions in the months ahead to ensure that Colorado can meet its emission reduction targets. The AQCC faces a statutory deadline of July 1, 2020, to notice a proposed rulemaking that would implement measures allow the state to meet its GHG emission reduction targets. Separately the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) is preparing a GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap, which is expected to be published in September. The CEO is currently accepting comments from the public on the Roadmap.