On Tuesday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced that Colorado would officially join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of more than a dozen states, plus Puerto Rico, that have pledged to uphold or exceed the United States’ emissions reduction targets outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The groundbreaking international accord—signed by 195 countries in April 2016 in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change—was repudiated by President Donald Trump on June 1. Hickenlooper’s executive order to recommit to the Paris Agreement’s goals is one of many city- and state-level legislative and ceremonial commitments to combat climate change in the wake of Trump’s withdrawal.

“This is a grassroots-based movement,” Hickenlooper said during his press conference at Red Rocks. “That groundswell will build into a national movement.”

Specifically, the governor outlined Colorado’s commitment to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025; cutting carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 25 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, and 35 percent by 2030; and achieving electricity savings of two percent of total electricity sales per year by 2020.

The order also lays out a handful of policies, such as creating a statewide electric vehicle plan for charging corridors by January 1, 2018 using the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust; developing a greenhouse gas emissions tracking rule through the Department of Public Health and Environment; and incorporating the emissions reductions goals announced today into the Colorado Climate Plan, which Hickenlooper created in 2015 to “mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and increase Colorado’s level of preparedness.”

Hickenlooper’s pledge comes after 353 mayors nationwide—including 15 Colorado mayors—signed an agreement to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement in their respective cities in the wake of Trump’s announcement.

“Coloradans value clean air and clean water. Our strong economy is a reflection of how our exhilarating outdoors attracts young entrepreneurs and the talent they need for their businesses,” said Hickenlooper in a press release. “The vast majority of our residents, and indeed the country, expect us to help lead the way toward a clean and affordable energy future.”

Haley Gray
Haley Gray
Haley Gray is a Boulder-based freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in 5280, Roads and Kingdoms, Boulder Magazine, and the Albuquerque Journal.