Why is Colorado phasing out coal? Simply put: Planet Earth is warming up. Fast. For decades, scientific evidence has pointed to significant human influence on our climate, dating back to the Industrial Revolution. Burning fossil fuels like coal releases significant amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming.
Climate change increases the volatility in our systems. And the catastrophic effects are already being felt. The U.S. has experienced a record-breaking number of weather disasters in recent years, including droughts, hurricanes, and wildfires.
In 2019, the Colorado legislature took its boldest step yet toward addressing climate change. House Bill 1261 committed Colorado to a 50% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and a 90% reduction by 2050. Almost every sector would be affected.
Electrical utilities, like Tri-State would need to generate more of their power from renewables like wind and solar. The bill signaled the beginning of the end for coal plants in the state.
For others, the bill was seen as an overreach and another example of the glaring rural-urban divide in America today.
How do we balance the need to protect the planet with the need to protect livelihoods?
To explore more from this episode, visit https://coalatsunset.org/episodes/episode-3-you-knew/
Host: Kristan Uhlenbrock
• Waleed Abdalati, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder
• Ray Beck, retired Moffat County commissioner and former mayor of Craig
• KC Becker, former Colorado Speaker of the House
• Jennifer Holloway, Executive Director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce
Coal at Sunset: A Colorado Town in Transition was created by the Institute for Science & Policy at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and produced in partnership with House of Pod.
To hear bonus clips and find additional resources, visit https://coalatsunset.org/