COLORADO – In response to recent and mounting climate-related adverse events and polls demonstrating Coloradans’ increasing concerns over climate change, wildfire, and water, advocacy group 350 Colorado Action has initiated a campaign focused on urging stronger climate action from Governor Jared Polis on a number of policy issues. Polling released last month shows that 82% of Coloradans consider climate change a serious problem, with 98%  saying wildfires that threaten homes and property are a serious problem here.

The campaign calls on Gov. Polis to take action to address widespread public concern that in the two years since SB 19-181 and HB 19-1261 were signed into law, the situation with regards to oil and gas pollution, impacts on Colorado communities and our state’s contribution toward the climate crisis has failed to improve as needed. The group, along with a coalition of over 60 Colorado environmental and community groups representing hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, has urged the Governor to declare a climate emergency and take swift action with state regulatory agencies to ensure greenhouse gas emissions reductions and climate goals are reached. 

2021 was another devastating year for Coloradans with regards to increasing adverse climate impacts. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, as of July 1, 2021, at least 32,860 acres (13,300 ha) of land have burned in at least 337 wildland fires across the state. Colorado’s air quality due to wildfire smoke as well as oil and gas pollution meant increased levels of smog in 2021, with Colorado facing its worst air quality in over a decade. Ozone levels have spiked in both 2020 and 2021, accelerating the need for stronger protections at both state and local levels in order to best protect Colorado communities from adverse health impacts.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent August 2021 assessment, there is “high confidence” that human-influenced rising temperatures are a direct cause of the extension of the wildfire season, increased drought, and decreased precipitation in the southwest United States. 

Calls on Governor Polis include: 

  1. Direct the state Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to end fracking within 2,000 feet of homes and schools, end drilling approvals in highly polluted areas, and phase out oil and gas permitting by 2030. 
  2. Require the Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) to revoke permits of companies violating the Clean Air Act. 
  3. Require the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to reduce air pollution until we’re CAA (Clean Air Act) compliant. 
  4. Stop agency delays and increase enforcement relative to SB19-181 and HB19-1261 to truly protect public health and safety.

“Millions of Coloradans have already been impacted by climate change impacts, and Coloradans want stronger action on climate from our Governor to mitigate the worst climate impacts which are yet to come,” says Deborah McNamara, a volunteer with 350 Colorado Action. Inaction at the state and federal level have left Colorado and the U.S. way off track on efforts to keep global temperature rise below 1.5-2° C. Now more than ever we need Governor Polis to truly lead on bold climate action.”

Colorado is currently not on track to meet the state’s near-term climate goals, set by HB19-1261, which called for 26% greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions by 2025 and 50% reductions by 2030. The state has only achieved a 9.5% GHG emission reduction from 2005 as of the state’s most recent GHG emissions inventory report (published 2021 for years up to 2019).

“Our state passed these protective laws, but the responsible agencies need to stop delaying the rulemakings, create and properly enforce the needed regulations,” said Micah Parkin, a 350 Colorado Action Board Member. “The world’s scientists have warned of a shrinking timeframe to keep global temperature rise below 1.5C to protect our communities from the worst impacts. Our state’s emission reduction goals are not even in line with that global goal, and still we are not on track to achieve them. Most notably, we must also take responsibility for our state’s exported oil and gas emissions, which account for over 60% of our total emissions, yet our state is currently turning a blind eye.”

The state has also not begun monitoring cumulative pollution levels per region, although this measure was required as part of SB19-181. This law required the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to make rules to address cumulative pollution to protect public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife.

“We have F-grade air quality approaching severe ozone nonattainment, as the polluting industries releasing GHG emissions are also releasing toxic chemicals into disproportionately impacted communities, whose health and wellbeing are suffering terribly,” said Bobbie Mooney, 350 Colorado Action President. “It’s time for Gov. Polis and other state leaders to say ‘enough’ and require state regulators to do their jobs and create the needed regulations to rapidly cut all of these emissions. We need a ‘moonshot’ effort to ramp up renewables and transition off fossil fuels as rapidly as possible.”

Visit to view the mailers which were sent to tens of thousands of Coloradans in March 2022.