Climate Coalitions State Intentions in Bonn and Make Demands in Denver

Last week international leaders met at COP23, the second “conference of the parties” since the signing of the Paris Agreement. They were meeting to discuss what global climate policy will look like both before and after 2020, when the Agreement officially goes into effect. President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this year that he plans to withdraw the United States from the Agreement set the tone of the discussions for the official US delegation. However, they were not the only Americans present in Bonn. An unofficial delegation of citizens traveled to the conference, also to represent the United States and to deliver a simple message to the rest of the world: we are still in.

Acitvists gather in Bonn ahead of COP23 summit

This second delegation delivered the America’s Pledge Phase 1 report, detailing the efforts of committed citizens to uphold the standards agreed to in Paris in 2015, in spite of the federal government’s  withdrawal. This comprehensive report discusses the success of the U.S. Climate Alliance (of which Colorado is a proud member and CEA is a proud supporter) and other coalitions that are dedicated to picking up the banner of climate action where the Trump administration has let it fall. This We Are Still In delegation, collectively representing more than half of America’s economy, detailed the steps they have taken to begin working from the bottom up to achieve the 2025 U.S. emissions outcomes asked for by the Paris Accords, and promised additional analysis in a Phase 2 report to be published in 2018.


As US climate leaders proudly declared their intentions in Bonn, a smaller group of local activists met in Denver to deliver a petition to Xcel Energy at their local headquarters, asking the utility to take the next step towards the post-fossil fuel world.  This group was led by 350 Colorado and the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, which represents Clean Energy Action and 22 community, faith, and environmental organizations from around Colorado. Our requests included

  • the closure of all Xcel coal plants by 2030
  • the closure of all fracking gas plants by 2035
  • a commitment to convert to at least 80% renewable sources of electricity by 2030
  • completion of a study by the end of 2018 that explores how to achieve 100% renewable electricity in Colorado by 2030
Micah Parkin delivers the petition to Xcel corporate HQ at 1800 Larimer Streeet

The CCLC represents more than 100,00 Coloradans, and this petition represents the work of countless climate warriors across the state who believe that now is the time for Xcel to end their lifelong reliance on coal and natural gas. “Xcel Energy has a great opportunity to move away from fossil fuels and provide customers with the affordable, clean energy they’re demanding,” said Kevin Cross, a member of the Fort Collins Sustainability Group and a leader of CCLC. As American leaders announce our renewed commitment to the Paris Agreement in Germany, there is no better time for our electric utility to step up its commitment to providing cleaner, cheaper energy for our state.


On the same day, separated by an ocean and thousands of miles, two coalitions delivered two statements to which Clean Energy Action was a party. In May, we asked our supporters to sign a petition to Governor Hickenlooper to sign Colorado onto the US Climate Alliance, and we see the effects of those signatures in Bonn where Colorado is one of nine states fully committed to the coalition. More recently we asked our supporters to affix their names to the CCLC’s petition to Xcel, and our voices were heard loud and clear in Denver last week demanding a greener, more efficient future. We thank the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, the We Are Still Coalition, and the US Climate Alliance, but most of all we thank all of you who provide the citizen power that carries us forward.

For further reading, check out the articles by Climate Action and the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate.

In Xcel’s Hometown, Energy Independence Expert John Farrell says VOTE YES on 2L

Boulder, we have a friend in Xcel’s hometown of Minneapolis, MN.
John Farrell of the Institute of Local Self Reliance has been educating communities for years on the economic benefits of self governance for essentials like energy, banking and waste management.   Needless to say he took careful note when Minneapolis looked into municipalization, which did not pass just a few years ago.  Today he says:  “If I had the chance to go to the polls tomorrow and give Minneapolis the opportunity to take over, I would do it.”  See his whole message for Boulder at the link below.

John Farrell has been teaching that “communities have to take control of their energy future, regardless of whether the federal government is a clean energy friend or foe.”

https://drive.google.com/file/d/10NpEIHtHhWrkZ3S5JU4rI3B_LM4P6VO0/view

 

CEA Always Supported Muni ~ We Still Do

 

Clean Energy Action’s research has been near the heart of the City of Boulder’s understanding of why working with a coal-based investor-owned utility (IOU) can be so difficult for cities that are serious about clean energy and shutting down fossil-powered generation.  We have been early but quiet supporters of local power – a municipal utility created for clean energy generation plus local innovation, more reliability and possibly lower rates.

For years CEA has accessed XcelEnergy’s dockets at the Public Utilities Commission and found the layers of power and law that protect the monopoly’s hold on the electricity market in most of Colorado. From those documents came the truth of the company’s generation plans with the fuel costs being passed straight to ratepayers while the profits go out of state, from the  return-on-investment on capital spent on fossil-burning plants. Even as coal proved to have an untenable future with the industry’s many bankruptcies (never mind the climate impacts), Xcel overbuilt its coal burning fleet, and its whole system, for profits.

All of this was done in the face of increasingly visible climate change. All of this was done as the cost-competitiveness of wind power was proven in Xcel’s dockets. All of this was done amid state politics that were unlikely to pass legislation (such as Community Choice Aggregation, or Deregulation) to allow jurisdictions to contract independently for their electricity.  Xcel customers have been trapped with Xcel’s foot dragging on clean energy and restrictions on distributed generation & storage, all to protect the “central-gen” model based on fossil-burning plants.

All of this is why CEA embraced the many advantages of municipalization – local municipal power that promises to be more affordable, reliable and responsive to ratepayers than IOU power ever can be.  Boulder should continue this journey to find out the true costs of this venture!

With that, we refer you to many fine sources on this:

Bill McKibben Endorses 2L

Liberate Our Power! – Video

OCTOBER 23: UTILITIES KNEW ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

Clean Energy Action invites you to join us for a talk by

DAVID POMERANTZ

Executive Director of the Energy & Policy Institute and co-author of Utilities Knew: Documenting Electric Utilities’ Early Knowledge and Ongoing Deception on Climate Change from 1968-2017

MONDAY 10⋅23⋅17

6:30 pm: Light Refreshments

7:00 pm: Presentation

BUTCHER AUDITORIUM

SE Corner of JSCBB Biotech, 3415 Colorado Avenue, Boulder CO 80303

David Pomerantz will be speaking about the shocking story of electric utilities’ knowledge and cover-up of climate change beginning half a century ago.  Clean Energy Action believes that it is critical that the public hear what Mr. Pomerantz has to say, so this event is free and open to the public. Please join us and invite others!

CEA and CCLC Weigh In: The U.S. Climate Alliance & New Executive Order

Morrison, CO – Last week, Governor Hickenlooper announced that Colorado will join the U.S. Climate Alliance.  He also released an Executive Order titled “Supporting Colorado’s Clean Energy Transition,” in which he set forth new climate goals for our State.

The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC), of which Clean Energy Action is a participating member, is pleased that Colorado will join the U.S. Climate Alliance.  We partnered with over 40 other Colorado organizations in June to call on Governor Hickenlooper to sign Colorado on as a member of that group.  The U.S. Climate Alliance is committed to upholding the goal set forth by the United States Government when it signed the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26% – 28% compared to 2005 levels by 2025.

U.S Climate Alliance members in blue, states whose governing officials have expressed support for the Paris Climate Agreement in turquoise

In the Executive Order released yesterday, Governor Hickenlooper set a goal of reducing Colorado’s overall GHG emissions by at least 26% by 2025 compared to 2005 levels.  Although this goal is consistent with the United States’ Paris Agreement goal, it is not consistent with the best available science.  To limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5° C (2.7° F), the entire world would need to reduce its GHG emissions to zero by 2050.  Reducing Colorado’s emissions by 26% compared to 2005 levels does not put us anywhere close to that path.  In fact, the goal established yesterday by Governor Hickenlooper would put us on a path toward catastrophic global climate change that is only slightly less steep than the “business as usual” path.

Since 2015, the CCLC and CEA have called for Colorado to reduce its statewide GHG emissions to zero by 2030.  We repeat that call today, and demand that Governor Hickenlooper establish new interim goals that will contribute to preserving a livable climate for future generations.

For further information, visit CCLC’s website at https://colivableclimate.org.

Accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy