Mountain States

A Warm (or Maybe Cold?) Colorado Welcome to Our Environmental Guests

It’s been a busy visitor week in Colorado with the Society of Environmental Journalists conference taking place in Fort Collins and yet another Denver “strike” scheduled for Friday.

The strike is being headlined by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, and she’ll be accompanied by the usual band of “Keep It In the Ground” groups including 350 Colorado, Extinction Rebellion, and Earth Guardians.

As Colorado is a great place to live and the people are among the nicest you’ll meet, we’d like to extend a warm (or maybe cold – have you looked outside?) welcome to our out-of-state and out-of-country guests.

And since the theme of both of these events include the important issues of energy and environment, we’ve got a few questions ourselves.

Will Miss Thunberg, 350 Colorado, and Extinction Rebellion give any credit to natural gas in reducing carbon emissions?

Contrary to popular belief, renewables like wind and solar haven’t actually made the biggest dent in cutting U.S. carbon emissions. That title belongs to naturals gas, which thanks to increased innovation, continues to producer cleaner-burning and reliable energy that’s offset more traditional fuel sources.

In fact, natural gas has propelled the United States to become the world leader in emissions reductions, representing 50 percent more U.S. emissions reductions than wind or solar combined since 2005.

The United States has made great progress in tackling emissions and natural gas has played a huge role. Despite this progress that’s being achieved here in Colorado too, fellow KIITG group Colorado Rising is suing the state to block all new oil and gas permits.

Where will Democrats show up?

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has been a long-time supporter of natural gas and a popular leader in the state, but environmental activists have soured on him this year. Hickenlooper declined to attend a climate forum in Colorado Springs last week to the dismay of his political rivals and KIITG groups.

Likewise, Jared Polis has pushed through plenty of climate policies, but he didn’t show up to the big climate rally in Denver last month and WildEarth Guardians didn’t not take kindly to the snub. Yes, he’s speaking in Fort Collins tomorrow, but it’s a quick drive down I-25 if he wants to make the tail end of the rally.

The decisions by Colorado’s top Democrats shows a growing rift between the state’s mainstream elected officials and these fringe KIITG activist groups.

Will the Society of Environmental Journalists ditch its own conference to cover the strike?

The Society of Environmental Journalists are hosting a big conference in Fort Collins with Polis slated to speak at 12:30 on Friday, just about the same time the Denver rally happens.

Bad timing this, really.

So, what takes preference for these environmental journalists – the governor of the state who signed into law a sweeping oil and natural gas overhaul earlier this year or a leading global climate advocate who will find out if she won a Nobel Prize while she’s in town?

How will everyone stay warm?

Denver is getting a nice snowstorm today and the high tomorrow is only supposed to be 50°F. Thanks to oil and natural gas, everyone can stay nice and toasty.

Natural gas supplies reliable heat when the temperature drops, and renewables go offline. Moreover, all of those cozy jackets and gloves (and don’t forget about the plastic bullhorns) are made thanks to petroleum byproducts.

Who will be doing the real work tomorrow?

Of course, Miss Thunberg and her colleagues have every right to hold their rally and we always support it when people are civically engaged.

But while protests are great, they only get us so far. To reduce global emissions, we need increased innovation and advanced technologies that help improve our air quality, while allowing the world to produce the energy we need.

It’s what Colorado’s oil and natural gas workers are doing every day. They’re in the lab and out in the field discovering and delivering new ways to power our economy and protect our environment.

And it’s a model we’ve taken to heart in Colorado where various stakeholders like industry, environmental groups, regulators, policymakers, academics and residents continue to come together to collaborate on the best ways to both protect our environment and grow our economy.

Hopefully that will be something both the journalists in town and the people traveling in with Miss Thunberg will see firsthand.

Stay warm and enjoy your stay!

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