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Climate change

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Please note: If you would like to request a Spanish interpretation, please email cdphe_apcd_outreach@state.co.us.

Tenga en cuenta: Si desea solicitar interpretación al español, envíe un mensaje por correo electrónico a cdphe_apcd_outreach@state.co.us.

Digital accessibility assistance
To request assistance or submit questions about digital accessibility, please email cdphe.commentsapcd@state.co.us.

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Background

The CDPHE Air Pollution Control Division 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.

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What's New?

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Greenhouse gas reporting

The Greenhouse Gas Annual Emissions Reports for reporting year 2023 were due March 31, 2024. The form is still open and can be accessed for corrections or additional submissions if needed.

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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 inventory and reduction efforts. This bill supported Executive Order D 2017-015 which directed the Department to propose a greenhouse gas reporting rule mirroring the federal reporting rule under 40 CFR, Part 98, among other requirements. In 2020, the Air Quality Control Commission adopted the Colorado Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule under Air Quality Control Commission Regulation 22, Part A. The rule requires all greenhouse gas-emitting entities in Colorado who report their greenhouse gas emissions to the U.S. EPA, as required under 40 CFR, Part 98, to also report their emissions directly to the State of Colorado. The rule also requires certain greenhouse gas-emitting entities in Colorado who are not subject to EPA reporting requirements to report their greenhouse gas emissions to the State of Colorado. Additionally, the rule establishes supplemental data reporting requirements for electric service providers or utilities to submit information necessary for the Air Pollution Control Division to determine greenhouse gas emissions attributable to imported and exported electricity in Colorado and to assess compliance with approved Clean Energy Plans.

Under Air Quality Control Commission Regulation 22, Part A, the following greenhouse gas-emitting entities in Colorado are required to report their emissions to the division regardless of annual greenhouse gas emission quantities:

  • Electric service providers or utilities.
  • Natural gas local distribution companies.
  • Industrial waste landfills.
  • Industrial wastewater treatment operations.
  • Underground coal mines.

Visit the Greenhouse gas reporting web page.

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Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Emission Reduction Progress Reports

In 2019, Senate Bill 19-096 was adopted requiring the division to publish updates to the statewide greenhouse gas inventory no less frequently than every two years. The House Bill 19-1261 was also adopted in 2019, establishing the first statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals and requiring progress reports to the legislature every odd-numbered year. Using facility reported data and other data sources, such as the U.S. EPA’s State Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals dataset or the State Inventory Tool, each updated Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report includes past, recent, and projected greenhouse gas emissions for the following sectors: 

  • Agriculture.
  • Coal Mining and Abandoned Mines.
  • Electric Power.
  • Industrial Processes and Product Uses.
  • Land Use and Forestry.
  • Natural Gas and Oil Systems.
  • Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Fuel Use.
  • Transportation.Waste Management.

Questions? Email us at climatechange@state.co.us, use the subject line: “Greenhouse Gas Inventory”.

Visit the Greenhouse Gas Inventory web page.

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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 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.

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Greenhouse gas rulemakings and adopted rules

Below is a summary of greenhouse gas rules that have been adopted by the Air Quality Control Commission and rules being developed or that have been proposed to the Air Quality Control Commission 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.

Rulemakings


Adopted rules

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Greenhouse gas crediting and tracking

To address climate change and meet the requirements of Senate Bill 21-264 related to gas utility emissions, as well as House Bill 21-1266, or the Environmental Justice Act, as it relates to greenhouse gasses from the Industrial and Manufacturing Sector, the division is developing greenhouse gas emissions credit tracking and trading systems that affected entities can use to meet their emissions compliance obligations under various Air Quality Control Commission rules.

Recovered methane

Recovered methane is methane from certain sources that would have gone to the atmosphere and contributed to climate change if it was not recovered and put to use. Eligible types of recovered methane are defined in Senate Bill 21-264 and the Air Quality Control Commission’s Recovered Methane Rule. In September 2023, to meet the requirements of Senate Bill 21-264, the division implemented its first greenhouse gas credit system; the Recovered Methane Crediting and Tracking System. This system issues and tracks the use of recovered methane credits for demonstrated greenhouse gas reductions from recovered methane projects that adhere to the recovered methane protocols listed in Regulation 22, Part C, which was adopted by the Air Quality Control Commission in November 2022 and became effective January 14, 2023. Public and municipal gas utilities may use recovered methane credits to help demonstrate compliance with their approved Clean Heat Plans.

GEMM 2 (Industrial and manufacturing sector)

The division is also in the process of developing a credit trading system for affected facilities in the industrial and manufacturing sector, to assist in meeting the requirements of House Bill 21-1266 (also referred to as the Environmental Justice Act). This system will issue and track greenhouse gas credits for demonstrated greenhouse gas reductions from Energy Intensive, Trade Exposed (EITE) and GEMM 2 affected facilities that adhere to the division’s proposed rule, Regulation 27, which was adopted by the Air Quality Control Commission in September 2023. EITE and GEMM 2 facilities may utilize these greenhouse gas credits towards their Regulation 27 greenhouse gas emissions reduction compliance obligations.   

The division has established a web portal and forms for greenhouse gas credit tracking and trading. The web portal and crediting forms are available for use by entities subject to Colorado's recovered methane rule and will also include credit forms for the GEMM 2 rule requirements.

Recovered methane

For the Recovered Methane Crediting and Tracking System, entities must first register in the system and then establish authorized account representatives before they can apply for, trade, or retire recovered methane credits within the system. Credit applications for recovered methane produced from eligible projects must be submitted to the division within twelve months of the recovered methane being produced on or after January 14, 2023, which is the effective date of the rule. Recovered methane credits are active and available in the system for twelve (12) months from the original credit generation date, whether that be in an outside carbon offset registry or the division’s Recovered Methane Crediting and Tracking System, after which they are automatically retired in the system and may no longer be traded or used for compliance purposes. for more details and answers to other questions regarding the recovered methane web portal and crediting forms, view the Recovered Methane Crediting and Tracking System frequently asked questions.

For questions about the Recovered Methane Crediting and Tracking System, email climatechange@state.co.us with the subject line “Recovered Methane Crediting and Tracking System.” 

GEMM 2 (Industrial and manufacturing sector)

The GEMM 2 Credit Trading System is currently under development. This system will be available by December 1, 2024 on the same portal as the Recovered Methane Crediting and Tracking System.

For questions about the GEMM 2 Credit Trading System, please email climatechange@state.co.us with the subject line “GEMM 2 Credit Trading System.” 

General credit tracking and trading questions? Email climatechange@state.co.us with the subject line "Credit Tracking and Trading."

Recovered Methane Crediting and Tracking System questions? Email climatechange@state.co.us with the subject line: “Recovered Methane Crediting and Tracking System.”

GEMM 2 Credit Trading System questions? Email us at climatechange@state.co.us with the subject line: “GEMM 2 Credit Trading System.”

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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 climatechange@state.co.us for 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 the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 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.

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Colorado's Climate Equity Framework

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 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 Environmental Protection Agency 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 the day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many voices were undoubtedly missing from conversations that shaped the framework. The 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.

Climate Equity Framework (English)
Marco de equidad climática (Spanish)

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Legislation and other resources

Visit the Public participation opportunities web page for more information on rules, rulemakings, and engagement efforts.

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission meets the third Thursday (and Friday, if necessary) of the month. Information on the Commission’s meetings and calendar may be found on the AQCC meeting information and calendar web page. Meeting materials, including agendas, minutes, and records for past and future meetings, are provided on the Air Quality Control Commission Google Drive. See the Air Quality Control Commissions regulations web page for links to all Air Quality Control Commission 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 to submit a Clean Energy Plan as part of their next Electric Resource Plan filing with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission Public Utilities Commission. The legislation also allows for voluntary Clean Energy Plan filings by electric cooperatives, municipals, and small investor owned utilities that do not meet the customer size threshold of a Qualifying Retail Utilities. 
Under House Bill 19-1261 which is contained in section 25-7-105, C.R.S., electric utilities with an approved Clean Energy Plan can attain regulatory certainty with the Air Quality Control Commission through 2030, commonly referred to as the “Safe Harbor” provision.  

Section 40-2-125.5(4)(VIII), C.R.S., requires that the division consult with the Air Quality Control Commission prior to participating in the Clean Energy Plan proceedings at the Public Utilities Commission and submitting the emissions verification reports, although the requirements for the consultation are not described in the statute. To demonstrate the consultation requirement, the division developed a Clean Energy Plan guidance document and verification workbook through a collaborative process, which can be found below.

In the Clean Energy Plan verification process, the division utilizes output data from the utility's resource planning process to ensure that emissions calculations are performed properly and accurately calculate the 2030 percent reduction from the 2005 baseline.

Senate Bill 23-198 directs the division to publish and solicit public comments on the draft report and associated calculation workbook when performing the verification of a voluntary Clean Energy Plan.

View the division’s draft verification report and draft verification workbook for CORE Electric Cooperative.

Overview: To address climate change and meet requirements from Senate Bill 21-264 (SB21-264), the division will consult with the Public Utilities Commission related to the calculation methodology for evaluating clean heat plans for gas utilities. Beginning 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 Public Utilities Commission’s website.

Clean Heat Plan Emissions Calculation Guidance

The division has published the Clean Heat Plan Emissions Calculation Guidance and Clean Heat Plan Calculation Workbook. 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. 

Clean heat work group materials and recordings.

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. 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. 

Creating Colorado’s Carbon Sequestration Framework: A Legislative Proposal.

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 on the task force web page.

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Contact us

Questions? Contact: climatechange@state.co.us with a specific subject line to ensure the email is routed to the appropriate person or group.

Stay up-to-date on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate equity, and other air quality issues by signing up for e-mail updates.