The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment created the Climate Change Program in December 2019 to lead an ambitious effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect a livable climate. The Program is responsible for conducting the statewide Greenhouse Gas Inventory, developing regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and gathering input from stakeholders and communities to shape an equitable and effective response to climate change in Colorado.
- On August 17, the AQCC approved the proposed Building Performance Standard Rule rule aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. More information on the commission meeting is available here.
- The state is working to update the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap, led by the Colorado Energy Office, and will be hosting open public meetings and sector roundtables. More information is available here.
In 2019, Senate Bill 19-096 was signed into law in Colorado requiring greenhouse gas-emitting entities to monitor and report their emissions in support of Colorado’s greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and reduction efforts. In 2020, the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) adopted the Colorado GHG Reporting Rule under AQCC Regulation 22, Part A. The rule requires all GHG-emitting entities in Colorado who report their GHG emissions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as required under 40 CFR, Part 98, to also report their emissions directly to the State of Colorado. The rule also requires certain GHG-emitting entities in Colorado who are NOT subject to EPA reporting requirements to report their GHG emissions to the State of Colorado (see list below). Additionally, the rule establishes supplemental data reporting requirements for electric service providers or utilities to submit information necessary for the Air Pollution Control Division (Division) to determine GHG emissions attributable to imported and exported electricity in Colorado and to assess compliance with approved Clean Energy Plans.
Under AQCC Regulation 22, Part A, the following GHG-emitting entities in Colorado are required to report their emissions to the Division regardless of annual GHG emission quantities:
- Electric service providers or utilities
- Natural gas local distribution companies
- Industrial waste landfills
- Industrial wastewater treatment operations
- Underground coal mines
AQCC Regulation 22, Part A, allows the Division to specify the format or forms for reporting GHG emissions to the State of Colorado. The Division has established a web portal and reporting form for submitting annual GHG reports, which can be accessed here. The web portal and reporting form must be used by entities subject to Colorado's GHG reporting requirements. A registered user account through the web portal is required to access the GHG reporting form. The reporting deadline is March 31 of each year for the prior calendar year’s GHG emissions.
For GHG reporters subject to AQCC Regulation 22, Part A, the Division requires that GHG emissions be reported to the State of Colorado using the XML file generated for the facility or entity from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Electronic Greenhouse Gas Reporting Tool (e-GGRT). The XML file contains the necessary GHG emissions data that must be reported. GHG reporters subject to Colorado's GHG reporting requirements but not subject to EPA's GHG reporting requirements can still use e-GGRT to generate an XML file for reporting to the State of Colorado without reporting their GHG emissions to EPA.
Please see the GHG Reporting Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document in the Useful Links section below for more details and answers to other questions regarding the GHG web portal and reporting form.
You may also review the e-GGRT Instructions document for Colorado Greenhouse Gas reporters in the Useful Links section that provides detailed information on generating and downloading the correct XML file in e-GGRT for submission to the State of Colorado.
AQCC Regulation 22, Part A, Section IV.C., requires electric service providers or utilities to submit information necessary for the Division to determine GHG emissions attributable to imported and exported electricity in Colorado and to assess compliance with approved Clean Energy Plans. The submission of this information is due by June 30th of each year for the prior calendar year and must be reported using the Division’s Electric Utility Supplemental Data Form. This form has been updated for Reporting Year 2022 and can be downloaded using the link below. The completed form must be uploaded to the GHG Reporting Form for submission. Please see #19 and #20 in the GHG Reporting FAQ document for more information on submitting the Electric Utility Supplemental Data Form.
Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Emission Reduction Progress Reports
In 2019, Senate Bill 19-096 (SB 19-096) was adopted to require greenhouse gas-emitting entities to monitor and report their emissions in support of Colorado’s greenhouse gas inventory efforts, which must be updated every two years. This bill supported the Executive Order D 2017-015 which directed the Department to propose a greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rule mirroring the federal reporting rule under 40 CFR, Part 98, among other requirements. In 2020, the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) adopted the Colorado GHG Reporting Rule under AQCC Regulation 22, Part A, and reported emissions under this rule will be captured in Colorado’s GHG Inventory. Historic, recently reported, and projected GHG emissions are presented in the inventory for the following sectors:
- Coal Mining and Abandoned Mines
- Electrical Power
- Industrial Processes
- Land Use and Forestry
- Natural Gas and Oil Systems
- Residential, Commercial, and Industrial (RCI) Fuel Use
- Waste Management
The GHG Inventory is published every two years starting in 2019 per SB 19-096, while the first publication was released in 2014. The next inventory will be released in 2023.
- 2021 Colorado Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
- 2019 Colorado Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
- 2014 inventory report update.
- Questions and answers to public comments on draft 2014 Colorado Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
The 2014, 2019, and 2021 inventories primarily relied on EPA’s State Inventory Tool (SIT) to generate GHG emissions data for the inventories. However, beginning with the 2023 inventory, emissions reported to the State of Colorado per the requirements of AQCC Regulation 22, Part A, and AQCC Regulation 7, Part D., Sections IV. & V., will be utilized as much as possible, as directed under SB 19-096, and be supplemented with calculated emissions from fuel sales data provided to the Air Pollution Control Division by the Department of Revenue, as well as results from the SIT. As reporting of GHG emissions data directly to the State of Colorado was not required until 2021 (for emissions occurring in 2020), the 2019 and 2021 inventories relied primarily on modeled data from the SIT modules. For inventories published in 2023 and beyond, the emissions data will represent a combination of reported and modeled data.
The historical data presented in the currently published inventories is based on various modules in the SIT. The modules are updated regularly by EPA with current activity data and published with those updates annually to reflect real-world data as it becomes available. This update and publication process presents a lag in the availability of historical data the SIT can generate. For instance, the SIT data utilized in the 2021 inventory only includes historical emissions from the SIT through 2018. Because future inventories will continue to be reliant on the SIT to a degree for historical emissions, those inventories will also have a year or two lag in the historical emissions that are presented.
- SIT modules used for the 2021 inventory report
- SIT modules used for the 2019 inventory report
- SIT modules used for the 2014 inventory report
The Air Pollution Control Division has published a report to meet requirements placed upon the Division in the “Resolution to Ensure Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals Are Met” adopted by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) on October 23, 2020. The Division conducted its evaluation for the report in August 2022 as required by the resolution and submitted the report to the AQCC.
To meet the requirements from House Bill 19-1261, The Air Pollution Control Division must track progress toward state greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals, provide any updated cost-benefit analysis developed for rules adopted to attain the goals, and make recommendations on future legislative action to address climate change. The Division submitted its first report to the Colorado General Assembly in December 2021.
Greenhouse Gas Metrics Dashboard
The Greenhouse Gas Metrics Dashboard in English and Spanish provides an easy-to-understand view of critical metrics that impact greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado in sectors or categories that include electricity, fossil fuels, residential-commercial-industrial (RCI) fuel use, transportation, and agriculture. The dashboard also includes data on climate equity and community engagement. Data in the dashboard is available for download. Metrics that impact emissions are automatically updated on a periodic basis, while climate equity metrics will be updated after each greenhouse gas rulemaking in Colorado.
Greenhouse Gas Rulemakings and Adopted Rules
Below is a summary of greenhouse gas rules that have been adopted by the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) and rules being developed or that have been proposed to the AQCC for rulemaking. Information and links to greenhouse gas rules that have been adopted by other rulemaking commissions, such as the Public Utilities Commission and the Colorado Transportation Commission, are also provided.
Stakeholder Engagement and Climate Equity
Climate change is not just an environmental issue. It is also about PEOPLE and not everyone is affected equally. Coloradans are already feeling the impacts of climate change and we can all think of examples: the Marshall Fire, the Glenwood Canyon mudslide, the 2013 floods, and severe drought conditions across most of the state. Communities of color, indigenous people, low-income individuals, and people living in polluted areas are often affected by climate change more than other groups. The state is committed to use greenhouse gas reduction strategies as an opportunity to work toward racial equity and economic justice.
Community representation in the rulemaking process
Becoming a party to a rulemaking hearing can have a significant impact on the outcome. The rulemaking process is complicated, and attorneys typically represent parties. The division is working with Colorado attorneys to enhance access to legal representation during state greenhouse gas reduction rulemakings. The division maintains a list of attorneys and law clinics who may be available to provide their services pro-bono to community members and coalitions interested in becoming parties in a rulemaking. Please contact email@example.com if you would like the current list.
The division can not endorse any specific attorney nor vouch for their credentials or abilities. The division encourages potential clients to contact and speak to more than one attorney or clinic to determine the best fit for their needs.
Participating in public comment opportunities is also an important way to provide input to a rulemaking. The division references community feedback as much as possible when proposing new regulatory language. Find upcoming opportunities to get involved on the division's public participation and outreach website.
Local Community Perspectives on Climate Change
Between April and June 2022, staff from CDPHE and several other agencies traveled the state to meet with communities and listen to their concerns about climate change and input on the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report summarizing these workshops is below, along with a summary of highlights of the work undertaken and planned to address community needs and drive continuous improvement in state government to serve Colorado’s diverse residents and businesses with climate and energy solutions that work for all of Colorado.
State Priority Actions (English)
Entre abril y junio de 2022, personal del CDPHE y varias otras agencias viajaron el estado para reunirse con las comunidades y escuchar sus preocupaciones sobre el cambio climático y sus aportes sobre los esfuerzos del estado para reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero. El informe que resume estos talleres se encuentra a continuación, junto con un resumen de los aspectos más destacados del trabajo realizado y planificado para abordar las necesidades de la comunidad e impulsar la mejora continua en el gobierno estatal para servir a los diversos residentes y empresas de Colorado con soluciones climáticas y energéticas que funcionan para todo Colorado.
Acciones prioritarias del estado (Español - coming soon / disponible pronto)
The state of Colorado developed a Climate Equity Framework to help ensure that Colorado’s response to climate change is guided by principles of racial equity and economic justice. The framework outlines the Air Pollution Control Division's plan to identify and meaningfully engage with communities who are disproportionately impacted by climate change in Colorado. The Climate Equity Framework has been developed with significant input from community members, organizations that serve and represent disproportionately impacted communities, local governments with climate equity and community engagement expertise, other state agencies, and EPA environmental justice experts. Input opportunities have ranged from large public listening sessions to small community conversations, as well as surveys and an email address for comments. Special attention has been given to making opportunities accessible by providing many meetings and materials in Spanish and offering meetings at different times of day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many voices were undoubtedly missing from conversations that shaped the framework. The Air Pollution Control Division will continue to seek input to improve community engagement efforts and promote climate equity in Colorado.
The Climate Equity Framework:
- Provides key principles to help ensure the state’s response to climate change considers equity every step of the way,
- Shares best practices in outreach and engagement with marginalized communities,
- Outlines a plan for stakeholder engagement for greenhouse gas reduction rulemakings, and
- Provides a set of questions to help consider potential equity impacts of implementing rules.
The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) meets the third Thursday (and Friday, if necessary) of the month. Information on the AQCC's meetings and calendar may be found here. Meeting materials, including agendas, minutes, and records for past and future meetings, are provided on the AQCC Google Drive. Please see the AQCC regulations page for links to all AQCC rules and regulations
During the 2019 legislative session, Colorado adopted Senate Bill 19-236 which is contained in section 40-2-125.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.). This legislation directed Qualifying Retail Utilities (QRU) to submit a Clean Energy Plan (CEP) as part of their next Electric Resource Plan (ERP) filing with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The legislation also allows for voluntary CEP filings by electric cooperatives, municipals, and small investor owned utilities that do not meet the customer size threshold of a QRU.
Under House Bill 19-1261 which is contained in section 25-7-105, C.R.S., electric utilities with an approved CEP can attain regulatory certainty with the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) through 2030, commonly referred to as the “Safe Harbor” provision.
Section 40-2-125.5(4)(VIII), C.R.S., requires that the Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) consult with the AQCC prior to participating in the CEP proceedings at the PUC and submitting the emissions verification reports, although the requirements for the consultation are not described in the statute. To demonstrate the consultation requirement, the APCD developed a CEP guidance document and verification workbook through a collaborative process, which can be found below.
Overview: To address climate change and meet requirements from Senate Bill 21-264 (SB21-264), the Air Pollution Control Division (the Division) will consult with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) related to the calculation methodology for evaluating clean heat plans for gas utilities. Starting in 2023, gas utilities are required to submit clean heat plans to the Public Utilities Commission or the Division to verify that they are designed to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets. More information on the rulemaking can be found on the PUC's website.
Clean Heat Plan Emissions Calculation Guidance
The Air Pollution Control Division has published the Clean Heat Plan Emissions Calculation Guidance and Clean Heat Plan Calculation Workbook. The published documents can be found here. The Division has created these documents through a technical stakeholder process to develop a consistent approach to evaluating the emissions reduction projections from Clean Heat Plans required by Senate Bill 21-264.
Clean Heat Technical Work Groups
To help develop clean heat plan evaluation requirements, the Division convened a clean heat technical work group. Technical work group meetings were open to the public.
In the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap, the state of Colorado identified CCUS as having a potential role in meeting the emission targets established in HB19-1261. In 2021, the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) established a task force for CCUS to further investigate how CCUS could be appropriately enabled, deployed, and regulated (see below). Building on this and other efforts, Governor Polis directed the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to prepare a legislative proposal to address the legal changes necessary to achieve a comprehensive regulatory regime for CCUS in Colorado and create sequestration opportunities in the state. The COGCC released its legislative proposal in February 2023.
In February 2022, the Colorado CCUS Task Force released its recommendations regarding the role that CCUS can play in meeting the state’s emissions targets. The Task Force evaluation included an inventory of existing initiatives and recent publications that analyze or identify carbon capture, transport, utilization, and storage opportunities in Colorado, as well as the development of recommendations regarding CCUS in Colorado. More information on the CCUS Task Force and its final report and recommendations may be found here.
If you have any questions or comments about the Climate Change Program and our work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a specific subject line to ensure your email is routed to the appropriate person or group.