Colorado Determined to Clear Its Air

The “brown cloud” over Denver on March 6, 2019    Photo: Andy Bosselman, StreetsblogDenver

Last summer, prior to the election for Governor in Colorado, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted the state an extension to meet the National Air Quality Standards — claiming that rapid growth was making it too difficult to come back into compliance.  Yesterday, the new Governor revoked the request and has pledged to move aggressively to get ozone air pollution under control.  The state said in a letter to the EPA the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said they “believe that the interests of our citizens are best served by moving aggressively forward and without delay in our efforts to reduce ground level ozone concentrations in the Denver Metro/North Front Range non-attainment area.”

The Governor intends to use three strategies to cut air pollution — transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy as soon as possible, tightening oil and gas drilling regulations, and requiring more zero-emission electric vehicles.

Why This Matters: The oil and gas lobby in the State of Colorado is quite strong — early in March they lobbied the state legislature hard against environmental regulations that would force them to reduce the air pollution caused by their exploration and drilling activities.  And yet while that was happening, the state was busy warning the public to limit their outdoor activities because of horrible levels of air pollution that made it hard to see across the city’s skyline.  Denver’s pollution is caused by its growth — people are flocking there to enjoy the rocky mountains and the quality of life living closer to nature.  But if the air quality is worse in Denver than in Bejing for nearly 2 months a year, will the city be able to boast of its quality of life and potential for outdoor fun?  Poor air quality is a health and an economic problem and one thing is clear — the Governor understands he must clear the air.

Up Next

Methane Leaks Globally Rise Dramatically Despite COVID-Related Slowdowns

Methane Leaks Globally Rise Dramatically Despite COVID-Related Slowdowns

In 2020, oil and gas use is down but methane leaks are up dramatically during the same time period according to a study by the energy data firm Kayrros, Reuters and The Washington Post reported.  Oil and gas companies had pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Why This Matters: Methane is a highly damaging greenhouse gas in its first 20 years after being emitted — it’s 80 to 90 times more potent than carbon dioxide during that time period.

Continue Reading 537 words

Carbon Dioxide Not Expected to Exceed 2019 Levels Again Until 2027

The International Energy Agency (IEA) Annual Report projects that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a 7 percent drop in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 due to associated reductions in fossil fuel use, and that emissions of CO2 pollution will remain below 2019 levels until 2027. 

Why This Matters:  This is good news for air pollution in general as well as for climate change.  We needed to put the breaks on continual increases in CO2 emissions — and this was a hard way to do it.

Continue Reading 488 words
New Delhi Raises Ambitions To Fight Air Pollution

New Delhi Raises Ambitions To Fight Air Pollution

by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer New Delhi officials have “introduced an antipollution campaign in an attempt to curb air pollution ahead of winter, when the city is regularly covered in toxic haze,” the Associated Press reported this week. The city of 21 million people New Delhi has some of the worst air quality in […]

Continue Reading 487 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.