- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

DENVER (AP) - Colorado’s Democratic governor on Tuesday added his state to a dozen others endorsing the Paris global accord on climate change even as President Donald Trump withdraws the nation from the agreement.

Gov. John Hickenlooper said the state would also set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by one-fourth while keeping energy affordable or even cutting the cost. Cheap natural gas and the declining cost of wind and solar power make that possible, he said.

He promised other steps to move Colorado toward producing and consuming more renewable energy and less from fossil fuels, saying economics were already moving the state that way.

“These are market forces. This is not government imposing a regime,” Hickenlooper said.

Colorado would join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states and territories supporting the Paris Accord aimed at slowing down global warming, Hickenlooper said. The others are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Trump said last month he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, calling it a “reassertion of America’s sovereignty.”

Hickenlooper signed an executive order setting a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 26 percent by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. The order sets a more specific goal of reducing carbon dioxide from electricity generation by 25 percent by 2025 and 35 percent by 2030 compared with 2012 levels.

The goals also include installing more charging stations for electric vehicles, providing more assistance to mining towns hurt by the decline in coal and using state-owned buildings to showcase energy efficiency.

Hickenlooper acknowledged that at least some Republicans would oppose his plan. But he challenged them to say whether they opposed clean air or cheaper energy.

Renewable energy promises good jobs for at least the next two generations, he said. “This is what’s going to attract Republicans,” Hickenlooper said.

Sean Paige, a spokesman for majority Republicans in the state Senate, said the lawmakers were preparing a response.

The Colorado Mining Association, which represents the state’s coal industry, called the goals overly aggressive and questioned whether they could be accomplished without adding to consumers’ costs.

The association “is very concerned the governor explicitly stated there would be less coal used in Colorado,” said the group’s president, Stan Dempsey Jr.

Hickenlooper considered a similar executive order last year that would have set the identical goal for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power generators, but he dropped it in the face of GOP opposition.

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Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP. His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/dan%20elliott.

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