In recent years, Colorado has set ambitious statewide goals to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050, as well as a target to generate 100 percent renewable electricity by 2040. To achieve these targets, Colorado must undertake economy-wide decarbonization efforts. The state must expand energy efficiency measures, electrify transportation and gas appliances, and reduce methane emissions from oil and gas production while rapidly eliminating fossil fuels from its power sector. As the state’s energy system undergoes this monumental shift, policymakers have a unique opportunity to address the uneven environmental, public health, and economic burdens that exist within the current fossil fuel-based energy system. With careful planning, the state’s transition to a more climate-friendly energy system can also help make energy costs more fair and support greater public health for Colorado’s most at-risk communities.
In this analysis, we assess opportunities and strategies to integrate pollution reduction, resilience to climate impacts (e.g. heat waves), and energy and environmental equity into Colorado’s decarbonization plans. To address long-standing inequities created by the current energy system, we focus on Colorado’s most environmentally burdened and socioeconomically and demographically vulnerable communities.
This analysis is part of our Western States Deep Decarbonization work, and includes an analysis of the health, environment, and equity dimensions of deep decarbonization across New Mexico and Nevada. Our work for all three states, accompanies the Western States Deep Decarbonization Analysis conducted by Evolved Energy, NRDC, Sierra Club, and Gridlab. To analyze the impacts of deep decarbonization in each state, we analyzed four 2020-2050 decarbonization pathways developed by Evolved Energy and described in these companion reports.