Ritter to announce global warming policy | VailDaily.com

Ritter to announce global warming policy

Steven K. Paulson
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Gov. Bill Ritter plans to outline tough new statewide standards next week to combat global warming, The Associated Press has learned.

Ritter is not expected to focus on new taxes but will set environmental goals, according to three people who have seen the plan. They did not want to be identified because they are not authorized to speak before the plan is made public.

The governor plans to unveil his proposals on Monday at Coors Field, according to a letter from Ritter obtained by the AP.

In the letter, Ritter says Coloradans have a responsibility to preserve the state’s beauty for “generations to come.”

“In this regard, one of our more urgent responsibilities is to see that Colorado is responsibly addressing the challenge presented by climate change. As responsible stewards of our state, I hope you will join me for the release of the first Colorado Climate Action Plan,” Ritter said.

Evan Dreyer, Ritter’s spokesman, said Friday he could not comment on what provisions are in the plan.

Last month, a panel of government, business and civic leaders in The Colorado Climate Project asked Ritter and the Legislature to take a number of steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which many scientists say are contributing to global warming.

They include expanding utility programs to help customers reduce energy use, adopting California’s motor vehicle emission standards, boosting the amount of energy utilities get from renewable sources, increasing production of cellulosic ethanol to replace fossil fuels, changing building codes to require more energy efficiency and reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

The group claimed that if its recommendations were adopted, Colorado’s greenhouse emissions would drop dramatically: 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050.

One person who has seen Ritter’s plan said it sets a goal of reducing emissions by 20 percent and relies in part on a proposal by the governor, approved by the Legislature this year, to increase Colorado utilities’ use of renewable energy to 20 percent of the total by 2020.

Ritter made renewable energy a key part of his campaign last year, and the 2007 Legislature passed a number of measures designed to improve energy efficiency and conservation. They included doubling the amount of renewable energy big utilities are required to use by 2020 ” to 20 percent, from 10 percent required in the previous law ” along with encouraging the construction transmission lines and promoting biofuels.

Ritter also hired a climate change adviser to plot ways Coloradans can reduce the emissions.

Legislative leaders have said about two dozen bills dealing with climate change are expected to be introduced when the new session starts in January.

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