As the United Nations Leaders Summit draws closer, a recently released study evaluating Colorado’s energy efficiency is being evaluated — and the findings aren’t looking so good. According to the data collected from the study, which was called “America’s Dirtiest Power Plants,” the power plants in the state of Colorado released as much carbon pollution as the entire country of New Zealand released in 2012. The study also noted that Colorado ranks 19th, out of the entire 50 states, in carbon emissions produced by power plants.
The purpose of comparing singular states to entire countries, in terms of carbon emissions, is simply to show how much energy is being wasted in this particular area; considering that this area has experienced a significant increase in extreme weather conditions recently, it isn’t hard to make the connection between carbon waste and climate change. In fact, scientists have stated that intense flooding, like that which affected a large portion of Colorado last year, and that which is currently affecting the entire southwestern quadrant of the U.S., is directly linked to climate change — and that climate change is a result of our wasteful habits.
The climate change issue isn’t just about stories of rainforests being torn down in another hemisphere — it’s about 100,000 Coloradans being displaced and losing nearly everything because of last year’s flooding. Quite literally, the problem is in our own backyards.
It isn’t surprising that the Environmental Protection Agency is actively trying to reduce emissions, and that many of the proposed changes would greatly affect Colorado’s businesses and power plants. For the very first time, the EPA is attempting to place limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can release. This plan, titled the Clean Power Plan, will also try to encourage investments in clean energy resources, like wind and solar power, and this could affect Colorado’s businesses in an equally significant way (and a positive way, at that).
You don’t have to be a Colorado resident in order to value its preservation and support the EPA’s proposed carbon limitations. In fact, over six million Americans have already contributed comments of support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and everyone from members of Congress to local Denver residents and business owners have shown that they’re willing to support — and contribute to — the Clean Power Plan.
But this widespread support rests on one very important detail that The Denver Post has noted in a recent article about Colorado’s environmental waste status: money. Despite the development of so many environmentally friendly products today, they’re often more expensive than their energy-wasting counterparts — at least, the initial cost is usually higher. Long-term costs, though, are often much lower.
Take something common and simple, like an LED light bulb, for example. The price tag on these bulbs is usually a bit higher than their non-LED counterparts, but LED lights are guaranteed to save energy and to last longer than traditional bulbs, and the savings become evident after a period of time. The key is to convince people that this cost will pay off in the long run. And this is where the data about Colorado’s carbon waste may come in handy.
The possibility of ruining the environment we inhabit, just because we’re too comfortable with traditional products and don’t want to change, isn’t just a possibility anymore. One of the country’s most beautiful regions isn’t about to be destroyed; it is being destroyed. And it will take every possible change — from light bulbs to entire power plants — to ensure that the beauty of Colorado is preserved.