In 2019, Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation committing the state to reduce emissions by 90% from 2005 levels by 2050.

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By Eric Galatas

April 22, 2021

BASALT, Colo. — As President Joe Biden meets with world leaders on Earth Day to reaffirm America’s commitment to addressing climate change, Colorado officials say it’s good to have the federal government back as a partner.

Steve Child, a member of the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners, believes Biden’s American Jobs Plan will help the state ensure a just transition for fossil-fuel sector workers. Biden’s plan also directs at least 40% of investments to communities of color and others disproportionately impacted by pollution.

“We need to put the money on the main street here by getting jobs to those people who really need the jobs,” Child contended. “I think it’s important to target different disadvantaged populations.”

Child noted Colorado mostly ignored what was happening in the nation’s capital over the past four years to make change locally.

He cited Holy Cross Energy’s move away from coal as one example. Nearly 40% of the electricity it delivers to mountain towns now comes from renewable sources, and the company said it will reach 100 percent by 2030.

Other efforts include development of affordable, solar-powered housing for teachers and low-income workers, a model which Child argued could be replicated across the U.S.

While some critics of Biden’s plan say the price tag is too high, Child stressed the costs of ignoring climate change would be far greater, pointing to billions spent fighting wildfires and recovering from extreme weather events.

He added a clean-energy economy will reduce carbon emissions driving climate change, and rein in staggering health-care costs associated with pollution.

“If we factored all of those things into what it is costing us, we cannot afford to keep using fossil fuels,” Child asserted. “We need to transition to a clean-energy economy.”

After the Trump administration announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, states including Colorado continued working to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

In 2019, Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation committing the state to reduce emissions by 90% from 2005 levels by 2050.

Colorado also was the first state to roll out a plan to help fossil-fuel sector workers transition to good-paying jobs as the state moves toward a clean-energy future.Citation: Leaders Summit on ClimateCitation: American Jobs PlanCitation: Holy Cross 100×30 planCitation: Paris AgreementCitation: House Bill 19-1261Citation: Colorado clean energy transition plan