These are the ten most important Colorado environmental stories in 2021.
Clearing the air
Denver was the most prominent city for having the The worst air quality in the entire worldOne day in August, and the state continued its suffering from excess ozone along withWildfires Colorado’s Air Pollution Control Division also helps in reducing pollution. Goes up in smoke. Whistleblowers made allegations about unlawful conduct at the agency. Former employees also described a culture fraught with fear. In the course of an investigation, Garry Kaufman was named as the agency’s director. ReassignedAs deputy director of regulatory affairs.
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Clear as mud
A mudslide, caused by unprecedented rainfall over a burn scar created by the 2020 Grizzly Creek Fire, rendered a section in Glenwood Canyon of Interstate 70 impassable. It wasn’t the first time the interstate was closed down by a mudslide. However, it was the longest. It lasted more than two weeks. The Glenwood Canyon controversy remains a flashpoint of the ongoing story about how climate change is changing Colorado.
River of no Return
Nearly the Colorado entire state 2021 saw extreme drought, with severe drought in places like Colorado River and its tributaries. Stories about the DoloresAnd YampaRivers drying revealed that the problems are widespread throughout the state. The Colorado River is also being over-appropriated. It has less water than was claimed. As the seven states that have rights to the river, Colorado included, begin to renegotiate a 1922 agreement. Native tribes fight for an official positionThe first time in river management.
Where is the snow?
Denver was the first to see it. Fourth largest snowstormThe lack of snow was a major weather story in late autumn, beginning in March 2021. From April 22 to December 10, the city did not see any snow. The snowfall is measurableThese 232 days surpass the 1888 record of 225 for most consecutive days without snow. Twitter user @denversnow mocked the lackluster white stuff. Meteorologists however cautioned that this was not a joke, since the majority Colorados water supplyAll year, snowpack is used.
Facing the flames
Colorado has been slow to recognize the causes of human-ignited wildfires, as climate change has intensified the fire dangers. Colorado is the only western state that does not have a fire marshal. This means there is no central control over investigations and volunteer firefighters are often the first to arrive. Experts stated Colorado Public RadioWhen there is no cause, prevention is harder.
A bumpy road map for climate change
Governor Jared Polis committed to a 26 percent reduction of emissions by 2025 and a 50% reduction by 2030. He finally delivered in 2021. RoadmapIt includes regulations on transportation, oil production and buildings to make it happen. Critics claimed that the road map did not include enough feedback from affected communities and insufficient transparency. September updateWill Toor, Colorado Energy Office Executive director, said that cutting emissions from the transportation sector is the most difficult.
Get on the road
Coloradans have a long-standing concern about highway expansion. However, the big projects had a great year: Interstate 25 gapThe Interstate 70 expansion is on track to complete and work will be completed before schedule. State and local governments will continue to be involved in the future. There are many things to considerNew projects could have an impact on highway expansions due to their potential greenhouse gas and pollution emissions. The December rule by the Colorado Department of Transportation will require that governments offset projects with pollution levels exceeding certain limits. EstimatesThat will result in $6.7 billion going to public transportation by 2050, according to the report.
A carbon-free Xcel
Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility provider has committed to 100 percent emission-free energy by 2050. It announced in January that it would close Hayden Generating Station as soon as possible; in November, it made the commitment to 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050. A deal was reachedTo move up to 2035, the closure of the largest polluter in the state, the Comanche Generating Station (Pueblo), will be completed. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has been established. Hearings to determine if the utility is doing enough in order to reduce emissions and limit global warming.
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One word: plastic
Denver has grocery and retail stores started chargingPlastic bags were banned in July. COVID-19 delayed the implementation by a year. Denver City Council worked hard to reduce single-use plastics. In May, it approved a bill that requires food delivery companies to ask customers if they would like to use plastic utensils. Thanks to the legislation, all of New York will have a ban on plastic bags, and all of Pennsylvania will have a ban against foam containers. House Bill 1126This July, Governor Polis signed the law.
But it’s a dry heat
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updates climate norms every ten years. These are used to determine weather patterns that are unusual or common. 2021 The updatesThe study showed that Colorado experienced warmer temperatures and less precipitation in the period 2011-2020 than it did in 1991-2010. These NOAA measurements will be used for the next ten-years by meteorologists when they reference normal weather stats.