Implementing Climate Actions in Colorado
With Governor Ritter's adoption in 2007 of the emission-reduction goals recommended by our Climate Action Panel (see the previous page), most of our panel's 70 recommendations and the other elements (some overlapping) of the state's official Colorado Climate Action Plan plan remain to be adopted. Getting those actions implemented is the goal of our ongoing second stage of our Colorado Climate Project.
A key document for this implementation stage of our work is our Colorado Climate Scorecard, which shows the implementation status of actions to carry out both the Governor's plan and the recommendations of RMCO's Climate Action Panel.
To win action on the recommendations of the blue-ribbon panel of our Colorado Climate Project, RMCO undertook follow-up actions in three areas, each focused on a particular type of recommendation. To build on the consensus and personal commitment produced in the first stage of the project, we continue to engage people who worked on the Climate Action Panel and its supporting Policy Work Groups, as well as others, to work on each initiative.
Local Government Actions
One effort focused on the recommendations of the Climate Action Panel for actions by local governments in Colorado. RMCO convened a Local Initiative Steering Committee, which rapidly concluded that the fundamental need to get those recommendations adopted was a statewide effort to support local climate progjrams. That decision lead to the creation of RMCO's Colorado Climate Network, as explained on the following page.
Water Preparedness Actions
Another area of focus is the 14 panel recommendations for action to see that Colorado continues to meet its water needs in the face of possible changes to our snow and water resources. The full text of those recommendations is in the Water Adaptation chapter of the panel's report. Now, a Water Initiative Steering Committee that represents a broad spectrum of interests works toward action on those recommendations, as described further on our Water Preparedness Program webpage.
State Government Actions
RMCO also works for actions by the Colorado state government to reduce heat-trapping pollution and to prepare for the challenges we will face in Colorado. We are seeking implementation of both the official state government Colorado Climate Action Agenda and the recommendations by our blue-ribbon panel for actions by the state government. We also are working with the administration of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in support of additional actions beyond those in the state's official agenda set by Governor Ritter.
Much of our focus in these efforts is our work in the Colorado General Assembly. In its 2010 legislative session, for example, RMCO played a key role in helping to win enactment of legislation embodying most of one of our Climate Action Panel's key recommendations: a 50% strengthening of the state's "renewable portfolio standard," or RPS, which mandates how much clean energy the state's utilities must use in generating electricity. Our panel recommended that the RPS be strenghtend for all utilities -- investor-owned, municipally-owned, and rural cooperatives. The 2010 legislation we supported made that change for investor-owned utilities, prinicipally Xcel Energy, which produce most of the electrity in the state. RMCO's work for that legislation included engaging with our partners and those who participated in the Climate Action Panel, testifying in legislative hearings, and otherwise directly contacting legislators. Examples of our work include RMCO's testimony, and an RMCO news release on the passage of the bill.
In the legislature's 2009 session, several bills related to the implementation of Governor Ritter's Action Agenda and of the recommendations of our blue-ribbon panel were considered. RMCO testified in committees and otherwise helped to shape and support those bills. We also followed that legislative action and reported on legislative developments to our partner organizations, the individuals who participated in the Climate Action Panel process, and others. Here is the final legislative update, wrapping up the 2009 session. RMCO helped gain passage of four bills on which it was active, particularly by way of testimony at key committee hearings. For example, Tom Easley, RMCO's Director of Programs, testified in support of Senate Bill 09-39 to clarify that rural electric cooperatives can establish graduated pricing based on electricity consumption, Senate Bill 09-51 expanding a state loan program to include commercial and industrial clean energy improvements, Senate Bill 09-125 to fund Colorado Water Conservation Board water adaptation programs, and Senate Bill 09-094 to create a Transit and Rail Division in the Colorado Department of Transportation, all of which would implement the Governor's agenda and Climate Action Panel recommendations.
Additional RMCO work for state action includes our efforts before the Colorado Public Utility Commission and executive agencies. See the webpage on RMCO's Statements for postings on some of that work.