Colorado News Connection

September 11, 2017Available files: mp3 wav jpg

Denver Mayor Asks Residents to Step Up for Paris Climate Goals

Eric Galatas

DENVER - Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is challenging residents to roll up their sleeves and help to reduce climate pollution by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 - goals set in Paris in 2015 and rejected by President Donald Trump.

The plan would create a glide path to reduce fossil fuel use by increasing conservation and powering electric vehicles with 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, among other moves.

Josh Downey, president of the Denver Area Labor Federation, says it's good to see Denver's leaders pick up slack at the federal level.

"We're excited that our city and county of Denver are committed to helping us reach the climate goals," Downey states. "We know this is a tremendous opportunity to create good green jobs while doing the right thing by our environment."

The mayor's challenge comes on the heels of a report created with the help of some 50 stakeholders - including Xcel Energy, the health industry and environmental groups - charged with coming up with specific strategies to mitigate climate change.

The Trump administration pulled out of the Paris agreement in June maintaining the global agreement would cost American jobs.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, last year solar jobs increased at a rate 17 times faster than the total U.S. economy.

The report on Denver's weather notes that if no action is taken, the city can expect 72 days a year with temperatures above 100 degrees in extreme years by century's end, putting low-income, elderly and children most at risk.

Emily Hiltz, an organizer with the Colorado Sierra Club, points out people already are experiencing the impacts of a warming planet, citing the increase in pollution from wildfires and severe weather events.

"These are all things that affect every person, and will not get any better until we take aggressive action on climate change," she states. "We have the science and the solutions, we just need to get the community on board."

Denver's workers and residents are being asked to give feedback on the mayor's plan through an online survey.

If the plan wins a "people's stamp of approval," the city says it will release an official path forward early next year.