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Colorado is cleaning up manufacturing. Here’s why that matters.


by Patrick Cummins, Colorado Newsline
March 13, 2024

Colorado is a national leader in combating greenhouse gas emissions and in reducing air pollution that harms public health. From increasing access to clean vehicles to reducing emissions from the oil and gas sector, Colorado uses many innovative tools to clean the air and reduce energy costs.

But what about emissions from industries that manufacture materials like sugar, gasoline, ethanol, microchips and glass? In 2023, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission adopted the Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Management for Manufacturing Phase 2 standards, or GEMM 2. GEMM 2 is the first standard of its kind in the nation. It ensures 18 of the state’s most polluting facilities will reduce greenhouse gases and prioritize cleaner air in nearby communities. It also ensures Colorado’s economy can continue to thrive while reducing pollution.

I support this historic standard, and I’m proud of the state’s strong program of climate action and thoughtful approaches to improving the environment. Here’s why GEMM 2 is an important step forward for Colorado.

Decarbonizing manufacturing to help achieve climate goals

Manufacturing facilities emit greenhouse gases due to industrial processes that use fossil fuels. By 2030, GEMM 2 will help Colorado reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources by at least 20%, ensuring Colorado contributes its share to America’s commitment to combat climate change.

State analysis shows that in 2030 GEMM 2 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 550,000 tons per year compared to the rule’s 2015 baseline. That’s the same as taking more than 111,000 gas-powered passenger vehicles off the road.

Prioritizing strategies in communities overburdened by pollution

Some Colorado communities are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, bearing the brunt of environmental health risks. Low-income communities and communities of color in Colorado face this environmental injustice. A key element of GEMM 2 is that it establishes stronger requirements for reducing air pollution at facilities in overburdened communities.

This story is republished from CO Newsline under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.