#Colorado Communities Symposium Day 1 recap #CoCommunities

From the Associated Press (Dan Elliott) The Aurora Sentinel:

Colorado has released an update of its state climate plan that includes additional steps to limit greenhouse gases and to prepare for potential impacts from global warming.

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the update Wednesday at a symposium on clean energy and climate change.

The revision calls for a new rule on reporting on greenhouse gas emissions that mirrors a federal rule, working with utilities to increase the use of renewable energy and building more charging stations for electric vehicles.

It also calls for research into links between climate change and insect-born diseases and heat-related illnesses.

The update proposes that climate variability be included in statewide water planning and using forest management practices that reduce wildfires, improve wildlife habitat and capture and store carbon that might otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Liz Forster):

Gov. John Hickenlooper rolled out the latest update of his climate blueprint for the state Wednesday at the first Colorado Communities Symposium, calling on nearly 400 local and state officials, businesses and nonprofit leaders in attendance to act to build an attractive brand for Colorado…

The plan highlights eight main areas – water, public health, greenhouse gas emissions, energy, transportation, agriculture, tourism and recreation, and ecosystems – as focal points for bolstering climate resilience and adaptivity.

Hickenlooper demanded leaders act with urgency, not only for the health of the environment but for the strength of Colorado’s economy. “The faster we move, the more it is to our benefit,” he said.

He mentioned the proposal to shut down two coal-fired power plants in Pueblo owned by Xcel Energy. The move would reduce air pollutants without a cost increase to Xcel customers in Pueblo, he and David Eves, the president of Xcel Energy Colorado, said.

And although it initially would displace 85 jobs at the plants, Xcel is exploring opportunities to open a solar project at the county’s steel mill facility to provide jobs and clean energy to the Pueblo County community, Eves said.

The symposium was born out of the governor’s executive order on climate change issued in July, which set emission reduction goals for the state, among other steps. Participants echoed Hickenlooper’s call for swift action, saying the state needs to move at the pace of technological development and in the direction of economic trends…

A hot topic at the symposium and across the state is transportation. With talk of electric vehicle expansion, autonomous public transit and a Hyperloop train between Cheyenne, Wyo., and Pueblo, Colorado policymakers and business owners are building partnerships to ensure that every pocket of the state benefits from such innovations.

The next two days of the symposium will be spent formulating concrete methods to tackle these challenges and propel Colorado forward as a leader in business, tourism and sustainability.

Although Colorado Springs City Council members, Mayor John Suthers and El Paso County commissioners are not in attendance, Colorado Springs Utilities and members of the Manitou Springs government are representing the county’s interests at the symposium.

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