A Tale of Two Chambers on Climate Change

A tweet from Conservation Colorado last month said it best: Bills related to climate change in the legislature this session have been a “tale of the two chambers.”

 The comment could just as easily be a “tale of the two parties.” Consider these two bills:

  • House Democrats introduced House Bill 1297, which adopts a set of goals regarding greenhouse gas emissions and resiliency efforts that parallel those of the U.S. Climate Alliance.
  • Senate Republicans introduced Senate Bill 226, which prohibits the governor from involving Colorado in the U.S. Climate Alliance.

Both bills were killed along party lines.

Colorado saw a breakthrough in 2013, when the legislature passed House Bill 13-1293, which called for the creation of Colorado’s Climate Change Plan. The plan, which was updated in 2018, was developed by researchers and government agencies. It set goals and strategies for reducing Colorado’s contribution to climate change, including measures to mitigate the negative impact of climate change on sectors such as agriculture, water, tourism and energy.

But little progress has been made since then, with strong disagreement between Democrats and Republicans, who each control one chamber of the legislature.

Several other climate-related bills died earlier this session, including:

  • HB 1080, which proposed creating a climate change leadership program to recognize work  responding to climate change impacts in Colorado. 
  • HB 1085, which would have required the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to conduct research on the health effects of wind turbines. The bill didn’t have any funding for the research. Wind accounts for 17 percent of Colorado’s energy generation according to the Colorado Energy office.

CHI released a report last year exploring the connection between climate change and the health of Coloradans, focusing on rising temperatures, wildfires, and worsening air quality and their potential consequences for health.

CHI will continue monitor climate change bills that will be introduced in 2019.

Find Chrissy Esposito on Twitter: @CHI_ChrissyE

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