Vote for candidates who support strong climate action — Here’s a guide

By Susan Secord, Boulder chapter steering committee

CCL is nonpartisan and we don’t endorse candidates. But we do encourage CCLers to vote for candidates who will support strong climate action. Here’s a guide to candidates’ positions on climate policy.


We focused on the positions of Democratic and Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate and the eight House races, plus the Colorado gubernatorial race. For the state legislature races, there are too many candidates to research. Please check out Ballotpedia for information about these state races.

For incumbents, we looked at the candidate’s website (either campaign or government) and included the most relevant climate-related information from the site. If they had no statements about climate change, we included their statements about energy. We kept to a word count of about 150. If the information exceeded that limit, we indicated that there is more to read at the candidate’s site. If there was no information, we noted this. 

If a candidate has not held the office before, we looked at their campaign website for their statements on climate change and/or energy. If there was minimal information on their campaign site, we contacted them for a statement on what policies they would support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We received no responses to these requests. We also looked for relevant climate-related volunteer or work experiences. None of the candidates’ campaign websites listed any. This points to the value of raising this issue at candidate forums such as town halls so that candidates know climate solutions are important to constituents.

Colorado Gubernatorial Race

Jared Polis (Democrat, incumbent)

“Governor Polis has strengthened the state’s response to wildfires and other disasters while protecting Colorado’s clean air and water and preserving access to our precious public lands.

  • Providing needed resources to firefighters and first responders while streamlining state response and recovery capabilities and undertaking the most expansive wildfire mitigation work in recent history.
  • Putting the state on a path to reach 100% renewable energy by 2040 by electrifying our transportation sector and securing commitments to reduce emissions by 80% by the end of the decade from utility companies representing nearly all electricity generation in our state.

  • Accelerating our shift to lower cost, renewable energy while assisting workers who have been at the forefront of our energy industry with gaining the skills they’ll need to transition into good-paying, clean energy jobs.”

Full statement from Polis’ campaign page:

Heidi Ganahl (Republican)

“The environment is important to all Coloradans. An all-of-the-above energy approach will ensure we have affordable energy that is clean and safe. Heidi will get the energy industry back to work.”

From her campaign website:

We contacted the Ganahl campaign requesting a statement on what policies she would support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We received no response.

U.S. Senate

Michael Bennet (Democrat, incumbent)

“Michael believes we owe it to the next generation to tackle climate change head-on. In Colorado and across the West, intensifying drought and wildfires threaten our farmers, ranchers, and communities. Climate change endangers Colorado’s vital water supplies, precious forests, and outdoor recreation economy. Michael believes in a comprehensive approach to confronting climate change that includes common-sense actions to reduce climate pollution, advance clean energy, increase resiliency of local communities, and grow the economy. He recognizes this moment as an opportunity to modernize our energy system, transition to low-cost renewables, strengthen energy independence, build critical domestic supply chains, and provide reliable, clean, and affordable energy for every American.

Full statement from Bennet's government website:

Joe O’Dea (Republican)

“We need a government-wide focus that embraces American energy production of all kinds — wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas and oil. We need a smart regulatory approach that leverages innovation to continue to drive down carbon emissions to address climate change. At the forefront of this national push, America needs a bold approach to permitting reform to get all sources of energy producing in a more robust, clean, and sustainable way.

Let’s unleash American innovation; let’s modernize permitting and bring more clean energy online like wind, solar, and nuclear. Let’s expand federal oil and gas leasing – our oil and gas is produced with tougher, smarter regulations than any other nation in the world. Let’s get pipelines moving. Let’s get natural gas permits on the Western Slope and across the United States, along with LNG terminal permits, in the review process and approved and open new markets for our natural gas in Europe and Asia.”

Full statement from O’Dea’s campaign page:

U.S. Congress

CO District 1

Diana DeGette (Democrat, incumbent)

“Rep. DeGette believes the ongoing climate crisis is the single greatest threat facing our planet. In Congress, DeGette is leading the charge to cut our nation's carbon emissions, curb methane waste and pollution, and create the nation's first-ever federal clean energy standard.

As a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. DeGette has authored legislation to create the first-ever federal clean-energy standard that would require U.S. power companies to eliminate their carbon emissions to help stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis…

…By creating a new federal clean-energy standard, DeGette's legislation – known as the Clean Energy Innovation and Deployment Act (CEIDA) – would require U.S. power companies to eliminate all of their net carbon emissions as early as 2037. And it would provide power companies that are already prepared to convert their plants to zero-emission facilities strong financial incentives to do so immediately.”

Full statement from DeGette’s government website:

Jennifer Qualteri (Republican)

"...we need to face the reality that we need electricity, and a lot of it not just for upcoming transitions to electrical vehicles and cryptocurrencies, so why not support the energy industry in exploring Carbon capture that is good for farming and already implemented in other countries. Check out these article for more information on the subject. ( links on website). Then what can be done for Methane Capture renewable energy (link on website)

Emissions and other pollutants are finally in a place where they can be dealt with. Check out this article on (link on website).. If these incinerators could be placed underground that could solve for the particles issue and has potential for curing the dump issue."

Full statement from Qualiteri’s campaign website:

CO District 2

Joe Neguse (Democrat, incumbent)

"Joe firmly believes climate change is an existential threat, and one that must be addressed with bold action. As the only lawmaker from the Rocky Mountain region to be appointed by the Speaker of the House to serve on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, he has been recognized nationally for his work to protect our environment, including his successful effort to launch the 21st Century Civilian Climate Corps. The very first bill he introduced was a proposal to expand solar energy (the Solar Edge Act), and he’s written and sponsored multiple bills to significantly increase investments in renewable energy and drastically reduce our carbon emissions. He has also successfully secured millions of dollars to support the incredible Federal research labs across the 2nd District, and passed legislation through the House to invest in regenerative agriculture and natural climate solutions on our lands.”

Full statement from Neguse’s campaign website:

Marshall Dawson (Republican)

Energy: “Reintroduce the Keystone XL Pipeline Construction and Jobs Preservation Act (H.R.684) while supporting efforts to integrate nuclear power into America’s energy infrastructure.”

Dawson’s campaign website:

We contacted the Dawson campaign requesting a statement on what policies he would support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We received no response.

CO District 3

Lauren Boebert (Republican, incumbent)

Boebert did not have a policy statement on climate change on her government website or her campaign website. Here is her statement on energy and natural resources from her government site:

"American strength starts with American energy dominance. I support an all-of-the-above energy strategy that utilizes all domestic energy sources including hydropower, nuclear, coal, solar, oil, wind, natural gas, geothermal, and other renewables. Responsible land stewardship and freedom make up the foundation of rural Colorado, and I am working to protect our public lands, waters, and natural resources from federal overreach. Our region demonstrates that conservation and economic development are not mutually exclusive goals. We all want clean air and clean water, but we also want important recreation opportunities and good-paying jobs. America has the highest standards and regulations in the world and we can have all these things if we return to common sense land policies."

Full statement on energy and natural resources from Boebert's government website:

Adam Frisch (Democrat)

On the environment: "I am a conservationist committed to preserving our natural resources and our way of life. We need to be responsible stewards of our public lands, keeping them accessible and protecting them from wildfires and other threats. We need clean air and water—and lower emissions—while putting the local economy first. We need to bring business, agricultural, environmental, and government leaders together to find sensible solutions that protect our greatest natural resources and make sure we are passing on a healthy environment and planet to the next generation."

On energy: “Colorado is a leader in energy production, and in a dangerous world our state can be at the forefront of making America truly energy independent. From responsible oil and gas production, to nuclear and solar, to emerging technologies like hydrogen, a thoughtful all-of-the-above approach to energy will make America stronger and will help us transition to a lower carbon economy in a way that ensures families and communities across our district have what they need to thrive.”

Full statements from Frisch’s campaign website:

CO District 4

Ken Buck (Republican, incumbent)

  • “Original cosponsor of H. R. 519, the Safeguarding Oil and Gas Leasing and Permitting Act of 2021, which would shut down President Biden’s oil and gas moratorium.

  • Original cosponsor of H. R. 420, the No Taxpayer Funding for Paris Climate Agreement Act, which would ensure that Biden can’t get us back into the Paris Accords that President Trump left.

  • Cosponsored H. R. 543, the POWER Act, to prohibit the President from issuing a halt on leasing and permitting energy and minerals on certain federal land

  • Cosponsored H.R. 6886 – PADE Act, which prohibits the importation of crude oil and petroleum products from the Russian Federation.

  • Cosponsored H.Res.1101 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should support the safe and responsible development of its energy resources via drilling, in an effort to maintain a robust energy supply chain that promotes national security, safeguards against energy scarcity, and reduces energy poverty for all Americans

Full statement from Buck’s campaign website:

Ike McCorkle (Democrat)

“Climate change is the ultimate global issue and to tackle it we need a global perspective. By 2050 the world’s population will be over 10 billion. If we are to live fulfilling lives, then we need to find new modes of economic growth without damaging the biosphere.

We have to:

  • Transition from 19th century fossil fuel to sustainable, carbon-neutral energy.

  • Change agricultural practices from short-term profitability to long-term viability of soils and aquifers.

  • Remember that there is more to be gained from community, cooperation, and connection than there is from an unwinnable battle for dominance over nature and one another.

  • We must shift subsidies and incentives to support the renewable energy sector, small and medium sized farmers who practice responsible soil management, and companies that demonstrate rapid transition.

  • Shift resources and incentives to support the renewable energy sector and small local farmers practicing regenerative agriculture.

  • Ban drilling and mining on federal lands and begin to tax the carbon those extractive industries produce.”

Full statement from McCorkle's campaign website:

CO District 5

Doug Lamborn (Republican, incumbent)

Lamborn did not have a policy statement on climate change on his government website or his campaign website. Here is his statement on energy and the environment from his government site:

“American energy is the fuel that drives our economy and our way of life. That is why I support a free-market, all-of-the-above approach to harness our vast natural resources and keep prices low for American families. Preserving the freedom of every American to pursue happiness through energy production means more jobs, lower gas prices and cheaper home electric bills. By opening more areas for production, rolling back creativity-stifling regulations and reforming our tax code, the federal government can expand the energy renaissance we are already seeing on private lands to public lands across our entire economy. Most importantly, when Americans are free to dream and innovate, they will always find safer, cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient ways to produce and use energy.”

Full statement from Lamborn’s government website:

David Torres (Democrat)

"Climate change is not coming. It’s here. We are already feeling the effects right here in the front range. When I was growing up in Colorado Springs, the conversation of a climate calamity was not omnipresent. Now the constant threat of wildland fires and alarmingly low level of our reservoirs and waterways are already making a major impact in our community. Climate change is an issue that demands more than just awareness, it demands action.

Right now in Colorado, a House Resolution is calling for an economy-wide carbon price to be enacted. We need Congress to do the same on a Federal level. These fees would contribute to the local economy and incentivize businesses to switch to clean renewable energy. This opportunity would not only provide clean energy solutions but also clean energy JOBS. This is a win-win for both our planet and our economy."

From Torres’ campaign website:

CO District 6

Jason Crowe (Democrat, incumbent)

"We must fight climate change and protect the Colorado that we love. Climate change is the defining issue of our age. This is not just a vague idea for my family or any family that enjoys Colorado’s beautiful outdoors. My children are 5th generation Coloradans and our family has already seen the effects of long-term drought, higher temperatures, and natural disasters.

America must live up to its role as a global leader to help solve our world’s most pressing problems, especially climate change. We must re-engage with other nations to work towards climate solutions, including encouraging clean energy transitions. Pushing for renewable energy development will also help grow our economy and create good-paying jobs.

In Congress, I have launched a “Sustainable Power Initiative” to bring together military, economic, defense, energy, and environmental leaders to discuss how to improve energy efficiency and environmental resiliency at the Department of Defense.”

Full statement from Crowe’s campaign website:

Steve Monahan (Republican)

"ENERGY: Regain energy independence by ending “green” energy subsidies and handouts, and let the market create innovations that are either profitable or not. Create a regulatory environment that allows for competing energy sources to have a chance at succeeding. Anyone truly concerned with reducing carbon emissions and having reliable power needs to take another look at 21st century nuclear power production and grid modernization. It is a national imperative that we have clean, reliable power production across a dependable electricity distribution network."

From Monahan’s campaign website:

CO District 7 (no incumbent)

Brittany Pettersen (Democrat)

“ENERGY: Brittany supports a balanced and responsible approach to meet our energy needs. She supports a rapid transition to renewable energy like wind, solar, geothermal and other emerging clean technologies. She believes the federal government must play a role in building the energy grid needed to support our state’s future energy and transmission needs. We also need to incentivize the research, development and deployment of renewable technologies so we can grow our economy right here in Colorado’s 7th District, ensure energy independence, strengthen our national security, and address the urgent threat of climate change.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Brittany knows that climate change is one of the greatest threats we face and is committed to championing legislation to help communities deal with the current impacts of the climate crisis and ensure we mitigate its worst effects. We must act now by investing in an energy grid that will meet the needs of the future for energy transmission, the research to expedite battery and energy storage needs of clean technologies.”

Full statement from Pettersen’s campaign website:

Erik Aadland (Republican)

"Adverse impacts on our environment are of great concern to me for several reasons:

  • Everyone wants to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in places of unpolluted beauty (I especially want this for my children);

  • We have limited resources that may be carelessly depleted, robbing future generations of the energy required to thrive;

  • Man-made impact on the environment is real and may have long reaching consequences for the future of humanity.

  • The Earth is our home, the only one we have to sustain us and future generations. We must protect it through wise stewardship of our natural resources. Preserving the environment in balance with equal opportunities and a high standard of living is one of our foremost responsibilities as a society. I will advocate for smart, balanced regulations that safeguard our nation’s natural resources and diverse environment while enabling industry to thrive and the private sector empowered to innovate and solve problems"

From Aadland’s campaign website:

CO District 8 (new district)

Yadira Caraveo (Democrat)

"...she was named a Champion of Change by President Obama for her work with the ​​Union of Concerned Scientists enlisting doctors across the country in the fight against climate change…

….In Congress, Yadira will continue her commitment to…combat climate change…”

From Caraveo’s campaign website:

As a Colorado state senator, Caraveo co-sponsored SB19-181 Protect Public Welfare Oil And Gas Operations, an act that prioritizes the protection of public safety, health, welfare, and the environment in the regulation of the oil and gas industry.

Barbara Kirkmeyer (Republican)

On energy: "Barb has spent her entire career supporting American energy workers and American energy independence. She knows how important Colorado oil and gas is to our community and will fight any efforts to destroy this economic engine."

From Kirkmeyer’s campaign website:

We contacted the Kirkmeyer campaign requesting a statement on what policies she would support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We received no response.

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