Colorado governor still considering U.S. Climate Alliance alongside other states

2 min. read
A view of the Great Plains cities, labeled as including “Denver,” from the International Space Station in 2011. (ISS/NASA)

A view of the Great Plains cities, purportedly including Denver, from the International Space Station in 2011. (ISS/NASA)

The newly founded U.S. Climate Alliance now has the support of 13 governors who have pledged to uphold the climate goals of the Paris Agreement and take other "aggressive" action on climate change.

Colorado is not yet one of them, but Gov. John Hickenlooper's office is reviewing the group's proposal.

"We are reviewing the ask," said spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery.

The governors of New York, California and Washington formed the group last week following President Donald Trump's announcement that he would withdraw the U.S. from a global plan to reduce carbon emissions. Carbon emissions trap heat and change the Earth's climate.

The alliance has grown quickly in its first few days. The new members include Puerto Rico and the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

The group and its mission are still taking shape. It did not appear to have a website as of Monday. Its goal is to "act as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices, and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy," according to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's office.

The alliance's goals include reducing emissions by up to 28 percent from 2005 levels, matching the country's goal in the Paris Agreement.

Worth noting: There's a constitutional argument that states are not allowed to create binding agreements among themselves without the consent of the U.S. Congress. It's not clear how that will affect this still-evolving group.

Also worth noting: Back in the Obama administration, Hickenlooper had stated his intent to meet the obligations of the Clean Power Plan, even after it got held up in the courts. Republicans in the legislature refused to fund those efforts, and at the end of the most recent legislative session, last-minute disagreements between Republicans and Democrats resulted in the Colorado Energy Office not being funded at all.

Both Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock have pledged continuing commitments to address climate change. Hancock has committed Denver to the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, a similar group for cities. Read other Colorado leaders' reactions here.

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