Colorado Adopts Historic Legislation to Address Climate Change

Governor Signs Bill with Strongest Long-Term Climate Targets in the Continental U.S.

May 30, 2019
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396,

(Denver, CO – May 30, 2019) Colorado Governor Jared Polis today signed a landmark bill that sets some of the strongest statutory targets in the country for reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and will protect the health and well-being of the state’s families and communities.

The new law, HB19-1261, makes Colorado the first state in the U.S. to put into statute both strong short-term and long-term goals for cutting climate pollution while requiring the state to develop and implement regulations to achieve these critical reductions in a timely manner.

“This law will help protect Colorado families, our economy, and our state’s mountains and working landscapes from the dangers of climate change,” said EDF senior director of climate regulatory strategy Pam Kiely. “With today’s signing ceremony, Colorado has become a national leader in this fight. We now have rigorous short-term science-based climate targets, a clear obligation to meet them, and a long-term climate target that is stronger than any other state in the continental U.S.”

Coloradans are already suffering from climate change and face more severe threats in the future – including intensifying and more frequent wildfires, worsening summer smog that causes asthma attacks and other serious health problems, catastrophic flooding, and prolonged drought that threatens farmers and national and state parks.

The law signed by Governor Polis today establishes rigorous climate pollution reduction goals that are anchored in science.

Under the law, Colorado will cut climate pollution by (relative to 2005 pollution levels):

  • At least 26 percent by 2025
  • At least 50 percent by 2030
  • At least 90 percent by 2050

The law also requires the development of cost-effective solutions to achieve the pollution cuts.

The Colorado House of Representatives passed the bill overwhelmingly in April, and the state Senate passed it earlier this month. The measure had broad support across the state, with Xcel Energy, leading businesses, and environmental groups like EDF and Conservation Colorado all backing it.

The bill was one of seven environmental and clean energy measures that Governor Polis signed in a ceremony today. The other measures include new clean energy standards for appliances and building energy codes, transformative energy policy requiring Colorado’s largest utility to reduce carbon pollution by a nation-leading 80 percent by 2030, and a measure to collect more long-term climate change data.

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission is now on deck to develop regulations to meet the state goals, with a rulemaking to be proposed by July of 2020.

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