Neguse Climate change

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Lafayette, held a webinar with on the climate crisis with Rep. Kathy Castor, at right, and Hannah Collazo, state director of Environment Colorado, on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.

U.S. Rep Joe Neguse said that when he thinks about the climate crisis, he thinks about his 2-year-old daughter.

"I am very concerned about the world she will inherit," the Democrat from Lafayette told constituents on a Zoom call late Monday afternoon.

Neguse talked up the roadmap he and the 13 other members of the Select Committee of the Climate Crisis released after two years in June, which he contended Monday can work, if members of Congress get behind it. 

"The roadmap the committee has published, in my view, is comprehensive, it is substantive, it is significant, and I think it truly will move the needle if we adopt the recommendations that are contained therein," he said on the video call. 

You can read the full report by clicking here.

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis set a goal to rid the economy of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which is a decade behind the goal set by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. (Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden aims to decarbonize the electricity sources by 2035. Trump has relaxed standards and pulled the nation out of international climate agreements in his first term.)

To get the entire economy to net-zero, the 538-page plan would require utilities to free themselves from greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and automakers to produce only electric vehicles by 2035, while putting a price on carbon emissions, restoring tougher methane limits and increasing energy efficiency in buildings.

The proposal extends solar and wind tax credits through 2025 and expands the tax credit for electric vehicles.

Though the 14-member committee had five Republicans, the package has little chance if Republicans remain in control of the Senate and President Trump is in the White House. Republicans, as a party, support the traditional energy economy until renewable sources are mature enough to supply the nation's needs for power, jobs and, in Colorado, tax revenue.

Senate Democrats released their climate report last week.

Rep. Kathy Castor, the Democrat from Florida who chaired the bipartisan committee, and joined Neguse Monday, calling in for her home in Tampa.

She commiserated over Colorado's droughts and fires, as she and her neighbors on the Gulf Coast fretted back-to-back hurricanes the past few days. Hurricane Laura last week intensified rapidly and more than expected over the Gulf's overheated waters, Castor said.

"That's going to be an unfortunate fact of life going forward," she told the Coloradans. "These impacts from the climate are costly and they're going to come at us quickly, and we have no time to waste to get going on implementing a road map."

She singled out Neguse's focus and effort.

"In his first term, he has established himself as a leader among his peers, no matter how long you've served in Congress," said the seven-term congresswoman.

Neguse hosted Castor and other members of the committee for a field hearing in Boulder, where they met with scientists studying solutions.

"We were able to hear directly from the scientists in our 13 federal research labs here in Colorado, all of them doing, really, cutting-edge research and developing some technologies that ultimately will move us toward a renewable energy future," he boasted.

At that hearing, Polis told the committee that climate change is an “existential threat to our security, our health, our economy, our public lands and eco-systems and our very way of life.”

Many of recommendations born in and reflective of Colorado outline the report, including the shared goal to move net-zero carbon, renewable energy as soon as possible, he said.

The report leans heavily on the economic benefits of shifting to renewables and averting climate change, an important move for Democrats courting moderates who were spooked by the aggressive New Green Deal backed by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also separately visited Boulder to speak last September, though she is not aprt of the select committee.

The webinar Monday was put on by Environment Colorado. State director Hannah Collazo moderated the discussion.

She and Castor spoke of the natural disasters that are generated by a changing climate.

"We know the frequency of this natural disasters are all too common, especially in Colorado right now," Collazo said of Colorado's recent history of wildfires, drought and floods.

Collazo continued, "These wildfires are directly correlated with climate change and the warming of our atmosphere."

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