A step in the right direction: Sen. Bennet’s Western Climate Resilience Roundtable

A step in the right direction: Sen. Bennet’s Western Climate Resilience Roundtable

By Ankita Arora, North Denver chapter

On Feb 5th 2021, Sen. Bennet announced a framework of Western climate resilience priorities as he works with the Biden Administration on its national climate policies. What sets this apart is that the framework was carefully crafted by a group of local leaders from many spheres: agriculture, water, local government, tribal government, education, environment, and business communities.

“I’ve always found that the best legislation is legislation that’s really written by people on the land in Colorado,” Sen. Bennet told The Durango Herald.

The Bennet Western Climate Resilience Roundtable framework talks about three primary priorities:

  1. Our resilience is dependent on strong local economies in the West. Our climate resilience strategy must include tools for local economies in the West to adapt to changing climate and economic conditions and build long-term prosperity in a future powered by a clean economy.
  2. Supporting healthy soils, forests, rangeland, rivers, and watersheds will make our communities more resilient and help maximize the climate mitigation potential of western landscapes.
  3. Our climate resilience is dependent on a thorough and science-based understanding of actions needed to sustainably adapt to and mitigate climate change.

To understand what this means for Colorado CCL and especially the Western Slope, we talked to Aaron Hoffman, CCL liaison to Sen. Bennet. 

“The three most important positive outcomes of the roundtable are that, firstly, there is a lot of Western Slope representation on the board, which is especially important given that the Western Slope is already disproportionately affected by climate change. Secondly, the emphasis is on bipartisanship and sharing common values that foster long term relationships and promote long-lasting policy. And lastly, the members on the board represent a wide-range of local communities with diverse interests coming together for common good,” says Aaron.

Aaron would like the talks to move towards discussing strategies to reduce carbon emissions — including a dialogue around the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. He says, “Sen. Bennet and his staff together with the members of the roundtable have the potential to influence legislation to transition from the fossil fuel economy to more sustainable solutions.”