Updated: Jun 18
Even before the COVID-19, pollution killed 7 million people every year. With evidence that just one microgram per cubic meter more of PM2.5 (tiny pollution particles) causes the virus to be up to 15% more deadly, we see the direct impact of climate change on human lives.
Colorado has failed to achieve safe levels of ozone for 16 years.
And that’s under Democratic leadership - that continuously speaks of an existential crisis. Just in December, a Trump administration-led EPA downgraded us to a “serious ozone non-attainment area.”
This week, according to the American Lung Association, Denver moved from the 12th worst city in air pollution to 10th in the country. If our state legislators are dealing with the causes and effects of pollution as they tell us, it’s not working.
Many scientists have told us we are causing the planet to warm and that it is mostly from burning fossil fuels. Our scientists are telling us that we need to move away and reduce all carbon-based fuels such as fossil fuels and natural gas. We need to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. And if we have clean, safer alternatives, why would we not?
Our climate situation has gone from very bad to worse. Amazingly, the coronavirus may give us a grace period. We need to get our plans and structures in place for dealing with the climate crisis that we will still be facing after we recover socially and economically from the pandemic.
In Colorado, legislators like to taut as a leader in dealing with climate change. But honestly, it’s not true; it’s good politics. We cannot ignore the over 50,000 current working oil wells or the 2500 new fracking wells approved in just 15 short months while Democrats, my party, control both houses and the governorship. The above not only emit harmful pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, but the water becomes unusable for future generations.
Not only can that water not be used again in our water supply, the disposal of it thousands of feet underground causes earthquakes. Is that environmentalism?
The move by the current legislators to include natural gas as part of our state’s electric generation mix is puzzling. Given that the processes of extracting, transporting, processing, and then generating the electricity have a greenhouse gas leak rate that makes the entire system counter-productive. Some studies have shown natural gas to be just as harmful to our environment as burning coal with leak rates 60% higher than previously thought. That is the energy sector’s and legislator’s dirty secret.
Colorado is one of the top 5 sunniest states in the nation. The power that the sun provides is clean and renewable energy and resource. The thoughtful and informed direction would be to use this resource along with us already using wind and water to transition our economy to clean, non-carbon emitting sources of electrical generation. The above is not just a short term solution. Every brand new home should have solar panels installed at the start. We should remove natural gas from our energy portfolio and remove it as a heating fuel as other cities and states have started doing. In states like California, they have begun this process and found out it gave the homes more equity, saved the homeowner money, and lowered the home loan default rate among these homeowners.
I call for Colorado and our elected representatives to declare a climate crisis now and to create a nonpartisan Climate Change Commission (CCC) that will not only heed the advice of our scientists but have scientists on it. A CCC would create and implement strategic plans to meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals outlined in HB19-1261. We should create a panel under this commission to address every sector of our economy: agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and housing. Because a goal without a plan is a fantasy, and we cannot afford to dream when it comes to our planet.
Just by selecting a few other written articles about this subject - it's just a few of the vast number of times this subject has been debated. We are over the debate. It's time to ACT! I am Maria Orms - Candidate for Colorado Senate District 31 and I need your vote in this primary to get real change in this area so our health and environment are not compromised any longer. We cannot just reward ourselves on selling more electric cars - that's not the victory we need here - we need real climate change leadership and I can get things moving in the Senate. Are you with me? Than VOTE NOW and let me represent you in the Senate. Thank you! Maria Orms.