Democratic leaders in the Colorado legislature are moving fast on climate change two-thirds of the way through the 120-day session.
Republicans and industry interests are certain to take on the legislation, but Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, and a willing a governor in Jared Polis.
Polis campaigned on clean energy and environmental awareness.
On Thursday House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder, and Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora, introduced a bill to authorize a state plan to curb carbon and "ensure that Colorado leads on climate action."
Meanwhile the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee approved a bill backed by Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, to better collect and track data on emissions.
“People in my district depend on clean land, water and air for their personal enjoyment and livelihood, but climate change is putting that at risk,” Donovan said in a statement.
“This bill is an important step towards protecting our environment while ensuring that the businesses powering our local economies can continue to operate in the years ahead.”
The Air Quality Control Commission would collect greenhouse gas emissions data statewide for a forecast that would come with recommendations to make reductions.
The commission would have until July 1, 2020, to get the system in place.
Senate Bill 96 is sponsored in the House by Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver.
House Bill 1261 — sponsored in the upper chamber by Sens. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, and Angela Williams, D-Denver — is aimed at creating jobs, the economy and spurring innovation while cutting air pollution, the sponsors said in a press release Thursday evening.
Lawmakers could put goals to reduce carbon pollution into state law, and use new rules to get industry to reduce carbon emissions, as well.
“Climate change is real," Becker said in a statement. "It's happening. And we have a moral and economic imperative to act now.
“As a mother, a defender of clean air and water, and legislator, I am committed to ensuring our state is making responsible investments in our future and working to preserve our unique quality of life. I cannot think of a more important challenge for our state to tackle than climate change.”
The Democrats listed impacts of climate change on Colorado: poor air quality, wildfires, drought, diminished snowpack and shallow rivers, all drains on the state's tourism-dependent economy.
“We can cut carbon pollution and create good-paying jobs at the same time,” stated Jackson, who chairs the House Energy and Environment Committee.
“Colorado must lead and we must take action now for our communities of color — who are on the front lines of climate change — and for our children, and our grandchildren.”