Colorado’s road map to CO2 reduction full of bumps

On Jan.14, the state of Colorado released its “Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.” It lays out a hypothetical pathway of reducing CO2 emissions of 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050.

These greenhouse gas reduction mandates were part of House Bill 19-1261. The state’s road map shows Colorado’s largest sources of greenhouse emissions are transportation, electricity generation, oil and gas development and fuel use in homes, business and industrial applications. Today, however, there are contrarian data that strongly suggest the road map’s greenhouse gas reduction goals will fall short by at least one-half the state’s Pollyanna forecasts. Thus CO2 emissions reductions of 26% by 2025, instead will be CO2 reductions of below 13%.

The “Roadmap’s GHG reduction goals” rests on the belief “that the technologies of wind and solar power and battery storage are undergoing the kind of disruption experienced in the third wave computing and communications; dramatically lowering costs and increasing efficiency. But this core analogy glosses over profound differences, grounded in physics, between systems that produce energy and those that produce information. So far, wind, solar and batteries — the favored alternatives to hydrocarbons — provide about 2% of the world’s energy and 3% of America’s. Nonetheless, a bold new claim has gained popularity: that we’re on the cusp of a tech-driven energy revolution that not only can, but inevitably will, rapidly replace all hydrocarbons with renewable energy of solar/wind,“ according to

The Manhattan Institute also notes, however, that ”in the world of people, cars, planes, and factories, increases in consumption, speed or carrying capacity cause hardware to expand, not shrink. The energy needed to move a ton of people, heat a ton of steel or silicon, or grow a ton of food is determined by properties of nature whose boundaries are set by laws of gravity, inertia, friction, mass and thermodynamics — not clever software.“

To accomplish the CO2 reduction goals, carbon-neutral “blue hydrogen” must be included in the energy mix.

Carl McWilliams

Glenwood Springs