Colorado Analysis Reveals State Still Off Track for Near-Term Climate Goals

EDF statement from Katie Schneer, Senior Analyst, U.S. Climate

November 9, 2023
Chandler Green, (803) 981-2211, chgreen@

(Boulder, CO — Nov 9, 2023) A new analysis released yesterday by Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the Colorado Energy Office reveals that Colorado will fall well short of the near-term greenhouse gas emission reductions required by state law. In 2019, Colorado adopted nation-leading requirements for the state to cut climate-warming emissions in the near term at least 26% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, relative to the state’s 2005 baseline: 139 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent.

While the state has made significant progress in some sectors, most notably on curbing upstream oil and gas methane emissions and electricity-sector emissions, it remains off track from meeting its statewide climate goals — and still lacks the regulatory framework needed to ensure the pollution reduction goals enacted into law four years ago are achieved.

RMI projects the state will emit 14 million metric tons (13%) more climate pollution than allowed under state law in 2025 and will miss the 2030 goal by 15 million metric tons (22%) of climate pollution. To put that number into context, the additional emission reductions needed in 2030 are 34 times greater than the abatement the state estimated from the recent “GEMM 2” industrial rulemaking in the best-case scenario.

“This analysis reinforces what numerous have shown: despite progress to date, Colorado is still off track for its near-term climate goals,” said Katie Schneer, Senior Analyst for U.S. Climate at Environmental Defense Fund.

“This delay adds up. Every year that Colorado fails to keep pace leads to more climate pollution building up in the atmosphere — further fueling impacts like damaging wildfires and droughts. As a result of the state’s insufficient progress on reducing climate pollution, RMI’s analysis shows Colorado is projected to overshoot a persistent, science-based path to its climate goals by 153 million tons of excess climate pollution over the decade — the equivalent of emissions spewed by over 34 million cars on the road for one year.

“Even after implementation of the first Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap, the state remains off track from the emission reductions required by law. State officials need to urgently put in place policies that will limit climate pollution at the pace and scale needed to meet our goals and improve air quality in our communities.”

# # #

One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund () creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund