CC4CA is advocating for state and federal actions to reduce climate-changing emissions.

Our accomplishments

In our first year, CC4CA has already had important successes, including helping to win in 2017 enactment of four state laws important to climate efforts in Colorado.

Our accomplishments include:

Representing one-eighth of all Coloradans.—Colorado Communities for Climate Action has grown to include 15 local governments, including five counties and nine municipalities, which together are home to more than one-eighth of Colorado’s population. Other local governments are considering joining CC4CA, too.

Advocating for policy priorities.—By unanimous agreement among the coalition’s members, CC4CA developed and adopted a policy agenda containing four general principles and 15 specific policy positions, and began advocating for them. The policy agenda calls for state government measures to support local climate protection actions, strengthen state climate programs, reduce heat-trapping emissions, promote clean energy technologies, and assist communities impacted by reduced fossil-fuel power production.

Building strategic relationships.—CC4CA met with and began building relationships with officials of Governor Hickenlooper’s administration, leaders and members of the General Assembly, state agency staff members, other advocacy organizations, and business interests.

Successful lobbying in the legislature.—The coalition contracted with a professional lobbying firm, Frontline Public Affairs, and with the firm’s assistance advanced CC4CA’s agenda in the Colorado General Assembly, through member testimony, personal contacts with
legislators, and collaboration with other organizations. Supporting 13 bills and opposing one, CC4CA:

  • Helped win support for four bills which were enacted, extending local authority to fund Regional Transportation Authorities; extending for another decade a law requiring regulated electric utilities to meet demand reduction targets; requiring those utilities to disclose to their customers the sources and costs of the utilities’s electricity; and extending for another five years state funding for low-income energy assistance programs.
  • Opposed a bill which was defeated, that would have eliminated current tax incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles.
  • Supported other bills which passed in the House but died in the Senate.

One of those bills, to set requirements for state government climate action plans, included a key provision reflecting CC4CA’s official policy priorities—that state climate plans include goals for reductions in heat-trapping emissions at least as stringent as the goals set by Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., in 2007.

Advocating for state executive branch actions.—CC4CA representatives met twice with the governor’s staff and state agency managers to urge a broad range of further climate actions by the Hickenlooper administration. The coalition also urged the Air Pollution Control Division to allocate funds paid by Volkswagen/Audi for its Clean Air Act violations for electric vehicle charging stations and the purchase of alternative-fuel buses for local transit fleets.

State policy advocacy

CC4CA lobbies in the Colorado General Assembly. In 2017, we took position on 14 bills and helped to win passage of our. Now we are working to achieve new priority policy victories in this year’s legislative session.

Through its contract lobbyist, Frontline Public Affairs, CC4CA works to influence legislation in the Colorado General Assembly. It the 2017 session, we supported 13 bills (including four which were enacted), opposing one (which was defeated), and monitoring others. See the 2017 General Assembly bill list, maintained by Frontline, on the status of bills followed by CC4CA.

Across several fronts, CC4CA is working to bring the perspectives of local governments into discussions with and actions by the state government on new climate actions.

CC4CA initiated a July 19, 2017, letter to Governor Hickenlooper signed by 75 local elected officials, expressing support for his executive order setting important climate protection goals for our state and offering to work with him and his administration to achieve the actions to fulfill them.

In their letter, the local officials wrote, “Now more than ever, it is up to state and local governments to step up and fulfill our nation’s commitment to reduce heat-trapping emissions under the Paris Agreement, which has been agreed to by nearly every nation in the world. . . . As local officials, we are ready and willing to help you and your administration shape and implement concrete, measurable actions that will be needed to meet these goals.”

The officials who signed the letter include county commissioners, mayors, and members of city and town councils, from 11 counties and 19 municipalities. CC4CA issued this news release on the letter.

CC4CA supports legislative adoption of state climate-protection goals, so they have the force of law and remain in effect when a new governor takes office. We support putting into law the 2025 goal that Governor Hickenlooper adopted by executive order, and we support adding to that an additional long-term goal for further emission reductions by 2050.

In July 2017, Governor Hickenlooper issued Executive Order D 2017-015, which, among other things, set an official state goal of reducing statewide heat-trapping emissions by more than 26 percent by 2025, compared to 2005 levels. This would have Colorado do our share to fulfill the national commitment the United States made under the Paris Agreement. CC4CA has applauded the governor for his action, which provides an essential framework for shaping climate protection actions in Colorado.

 CC4CA also supports an additional goal of reducing emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, building on the goal set in 2008 by then-governor Bill Ritter, Jr., in Executive Order D 004 08. This would have Colorado do our share to achieve the global emission reductions which scientists say must be achieved or even exceeded to protect the climate from dangerous human interference. As Governor Ritter’s executive order correctly states, “Scientists tell us that to head off disruptions to our economy, environment, and society by the second half of this century, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.” Since that was written, the scientific evidence has mounted that even sharper and quicker emission reductions are actually necessary to avoid dangerous human interference with the climate—as, for example, documented in 2020: The Climate Turning Point, a report by many climate scientists who have played lead roles in the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

 The need for long-term goals as well as for short terms is illustrated by the fact that of the 20 states plus the District of Columbia that have emission reduction goals, 19 include a long-term goal. Only Colorado and Hawaii do not have a long-term goal, as shown by a list of state climate goals compiled by CC4CA. And Hawaii sets its goal a decade ago, when it was less clear that long-term goals are needed. 

CC4CA is pushing for an updated inventory of historic statewide heat-trapping emissions, and forecast of future emissions, essential baseline information for determining whether we are on course to meet state goals and what else needs to be done.

In July, CC4CA sent a letter to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, urging that the inventory and forecast be updated, and asking for a meeting to discuss that decision. In particular, the state’s latest inventory included projections for 2020 and 2030 that are not based on any Colorado-generated data about the implementation of new policies, so that forecast is not very useful in determining what progress we are making here and what else still needs to be done. The letter states, “CC4CA believes it is essential for the state government, local governments, and others to have accurate information on these points to evaluate the need and the best opportunities for the future emission reductions that clearly are still needed to protect our climate.”

For the 2018 Colorado General Assembly, CC4CA legislative priorities include several bills that did not win final passage, on which we expect to continue working next year. Even more, we are gearing up for a fuller and more ambitious agenda with new actions — see the section below with details on our current CC4CA policy priorities.

Last sessions’s bills that may come back, perhaps in altered form, include ones to:

  • Require the state’s climate action plan to include specific, measurable goals to reduce Colorado’s heat-trapping emissions, at least as stringent as the goals adopted by then-Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. This legislative threshold for the state goals, newly added to the previous year’s version of the bill, exactly tracks the language first proposed by CC4CA in our policy priorities.
  • Authorize an investor-owned electric utility to use new low-cost bonds to lower the cost to customers of early retirement of a coal-fired power plant. A portion of the bond proceeds would be used to provide transition assistance for Colorado workers and communities directly affected by the power plant retirement.
  • Fully fund the Colorado Energy Office.

Federal policy advocacy

CC4CA also is standing up against efforts by the Trump administration and in Congress to roll back important federal climate protection efforts.

Recently, CC4CA has:

  • Sent letters to the Colorado congressional delegation urging that anti-clean energy provisions be stripped from the final form of the tax bill – provisions that would repeal the tax credit for purchase of electric vehicles and undercut credits for wind, solar, and geothermal energy.
  • Sent an earlier letter supporting the wind energy tax credit.
  • Sent a CC4CA letter opposing a Trump administration proposal to roll back federal emission and efficiency standards for new cars and trucks—standards that would make a big dent in transportation emissions (which now exceed power plant emissions) and also save Colorado families an estimated $2,700 each by 2030.

CC4CA policy priorities

CC4CA has a comprehensive, detailed policy agenda that we are pursuing in 2017-2018.

CC4CA’s current policy priorities, agreed to by unanimous agreement among the local governments in the coalition, include that CC4CA:

  • Supports state-level actions to remove barriers and promote opportunities that allow counties and statutory cities and towns to maximize local energy efficiency and clean energy options.
  • Supports statutory codification of aggressive and enforceable goals to reduce net statewide heat-trapping emissions, including the goal of reducing emissions by more than 26 percent by 2025, compared to 2005 levels, as established by Governor John Hickenlooper through executive order, and including a further goal of reducing emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.
  • Supports concrete state government actions to achieve those emission reduction goals and to implement the Colorado Climate Plan, which currently is a very general document rather than a specific plan.
  • Requests an opportunity for meaningful, sustained engagement by CC4CA in developing those specific steps.
  • Supports specific state government policies and actions to reduce emissions from electricity generation and consumption in Colorado as outlined in Governor Hickenlooper’s executive order — by at least 25 percent by 2025 and at least 35 percent by 2030, compared to 2012 levels.
  • Supports the early decommissioning and retirement of existing fossil-fuel based generation facilities and their replacement with clean energy supplies, through means that protect both
    utilities and consumers.
  • Supports state legislation to incrementally increase the Renewable Energy Standard that requires the use of specified percentages of clean sources in the generation of electricity in Colorado.
  • Supports adoption by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission of California’s standards that new cars and trucks produce fewer emissions and that specified percentages of new vehicle sales must be of zero-emitting vehicles, and supports the development of the infrastructure needed to support the use of electric vehicles across Colorado.