It isn’t news that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are driving dramatic changes in the climate. The fact that these changes are already impacting communities across Pitkin County isn’t news either. As these impacts are intensifying, our window of opportunity to slow that change is rapidly closing.
For both the City of Aspen and Pitkin County, reducing these emissions and their impacts is a high priority. It’s key to maintaining our vibrant economy, environment and quality of life. Both local governments are committed to accelerating the region’s transition to renewable energy, maximizing the efficiency of our buildings, greening transportation, diverting waste from the landfill, and building resilience in the face of emerging risks and vulnerabilities.
We have accomplished a great deal in our communities, and we will continue to do so in the coming years. At the same time, we understand that we can’t meet our local goals without stronger statewide policy as well. This is one reason that both Pitkin County and the city of Aspen are members of Colorado Communities for Climate Action (www.cc4ca.org), a coalition of 25 local governments across the state (including Basalt and Carbondale) working to advance effective climate policy on behalf of their residents.
One of our highest priorities is the action of the Colorado General Assembly, which is currently considering a suite of bills designed to reduce emissions and the growing impacts of climate change across the state. These bills will expand opportunities for rooftop solar and community solar gardens. They will help ensure that our rural communities benefit from the growth in electric vehicles, and that Coloradans have access to the full range of electric vehicle types coming onto the market, including SUVs and trucks. The bills will simultaneously reduce other dangerous types of air pollution that affect Roaring Fork Valley residents, leading to improved health and quality of life. And many of these bills will save money for Colorado families and businesses.
State Senator Kerry Donovan, who represents Pitkin County, is carrying an important bill that would make sure Colorado regularly and accurately tracks GHG emissions, so we can focus on the most effective strategies for reducing them. Her counterpart in the State House, Representative Julie McCluskie has been consistently supportive of these efforts. Governor Polis, who will have to sign these bills for them to become law, has consistently committed to bold climate action.
With less than two months remaining in the legislative session, our State lawmakers still have a lot of work to do. We thank the legislature and the governor for their innovation and efforts, and strongly encourage them to do what it takes to get these important bills over the finish line.
Mayor, City of Aspen
Chair, Pitkin County Board of Commissioners