What Colorado Business Leaders Say About Governor Hickenlooper’s Climate Action

When President Trump decided to move our country backwards from our progress on climate change by pulling out of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, outcry broke out across the country, from the CEOs of energy companies to celebrities to politicians.

As former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger explained in a video:

“One man cannot destroy our progress, one man can’t stop our clean energy revolution, one man can’t go back in time. Only I can do that,” a reference to his role in the “Terminator” franchise.

The whole intent of the Paris Climate Accord was to prevent the catastrophic effects of human-caused climate change. In 2015, 192 countries created and signed the agreement, which included a goal to avoid warming the planet by more than 2 degrees Celsius above average global temperatures.

To meet that goal, then-President Obama created the Clean Power Plan, to reduce U.S. carbon pollution by nearly 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. But President Trump since scrapped the Clean Power Plan and withdrew from the Paris Agreement.

Fortunately, after President Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, leaders across the country banded together to take action. Governors from 13 states joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, a commitment for individual states to uphold the Paris climate goals. In addition, 350 mayors committed to keeping the goals from the Paris agreement, and to intensify efforts to reach their own cities’ climate goals.

Throughout this, Colorado’s Governor Hickenlooper said “Colorado’s commitment to clean air and clean energy will continue,” but did not take any action toward that commitment — until now. This week, he finally took bold action for our climate.

Governor Hickenlooper announced major steps to fight climate change, including putting the state of Colorado on track to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement and joining Colorado into the U.S. Climate Alliance. “The vast majority of our residents, and indeed the country, expect us to help lead the way toward a clean and affordable energy future,” he explained.

In quite the opposite reaction that President Trump and some Colorado Republicans would claim, Colorado businesses are celebrating the announcement.

Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility, signaled that it is willing to work with Hickenlooper.

“Just like Gov. Hickenlooper, we hear from our Colorado communities and our residential and business customers that they want more low-cost, renewable energy. We are committed to providing what they want — reduced emissions and job creation. We believe that we can do this economically and even save customers money.” said Xcel spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo.

The power company has pursued renewables at an aggressive pace in recent years and expects wind to be its primary source of power generation by 2021.

Zealoptics said via Facebook:

Outdoor Prolink, a Boulder-based online retailer, said it was the “Best News Ever”:

In addition, many Colorado companies spoke out last month when President Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement. An open letter from 1,219 governors, businesses, mayors, investors, colleges, and universities to the world announced “We are still in” on the Paris agreement.

“Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2℃ and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.” — We Are Still In

The signers of this letter based in Colorado, or with Colorado-based owners, include many large companies, including Western Union, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Catholic Health Initiatives, co-parent of Colorado’s Centura Health hospitals, Boulder Associates, DanoneWave, and 90 other businesses representing over 10 percent of Colorado’s GDP.

Chairman and CEO Jacqueline Hinman of CH2M, based in Douglas County, said after President Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement: “We stand with our clients today by reaffirming our longstanding commitment to advance the aims of the Paris climate accord.”

Companies in the skiing and snowsports industry were especially vocal about the governor’s announcement.

Mike Kaplan, of Aspen Skiing Company, said, “This is real leadership on jobs and climate. We’ll back the governor 100% on this initiative, and we’ll be pushing ourselves too.”

Geraldine Link, of the National Ski Areas Association, said “NSAA applauds Colorado for joining with other leading states in taking action to comply with the targets of the Paris Climate accord.”

The President of SnowSports Industries America, Nick Sargent, said, “SIA supports the Governor’s commitment to climate change and Colorado’s preservation of the winter sport industry. SIA will work with our industry members to support further climate actions.”

“We applaud and support the executive order signed earlier today by Gov. Hickenlooper,” Rob Whittier, Vail Resorts’ director of sustainability and compliance, said. “Alongside the state of Colorado, Vail Resorts remains committed to finding significant ways to minimize our carbon footprint through reducing our energy use to help address one of the most serious challenges facing our worldwide community.”

Colorado Ski Country added their support via Facebook:

Colorado’s clean energy economy is rapidly expanding, with 62,000 jobs already in the clean technology sector and more than 2,000 cleantech companies.

Coloradans recognize that we need to act to protect our climate. In a recent poll, 90 percent of Colorado voters said they support increasing clean renewable energy in Colorado. A 2013 poll found that 73 percent of Coloradans say that climate change is an important issue to them personally.

We’re grateful that Governor Hickenlooper has decided to be a leader for climate action.

The actions that the governor announced will not only help us fight climate change, but will bring clean energy jobs and business innovation to our state. What’s good for Colorado is also good for our future.

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