Denver—Nearly the entire country has experienced record high temperatures for the last five years, but Colorado has been warming even more than the rest of the continental US in recent years, according to Feeling the Heat: Global Warming and Rising Temperatures, a new report released today by Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center.
“It’s old news that the world is hotter than any time in recorded history,” said Isaac Silverman, from Environment Colorado. “This report confirms what many Coloradans already suspected; that Colorado hasn’t been this hot in their lifetimes. What’s new is that it also shows that Colorado has heated up more than almost anywhere else in the continental US.”
The scientific consensus is that most of the warming in the 20 th and 21 st centuries is due to human activities, specifically the burning of fossil fuels to power our homes and businesses and fuel our cars. That is why a growing number of leaders in Washington DC , including Rep. DeGette from Colorado , are supporting strong federal action to reduce global warming pollution.
“With our scarce water resources and thriving ski industry, Colorado stands to lose more than most from global warming,” said Silverman. “That’s why Environment Colorado applauds Rep. DeGette for co-sponsoring the Waxman-Jeffords Climate Safety Act and why we urge the rest of Colorado ’s delegation to join her in supporting real solutions to global warming.”
The report compares recent data from 255 weather monitoring stations across the country to averages from the last part of the 20 th century, the time period most scientists agree warming has been due primarily to human influences. The report found that the first 7 months of 2006 were the hottest January-July period ever in the United States , with every state recording temperatures higher than the historic average. For the period 2000-2005, 95% of monitoring stations studied recorded average temperatures that exceeded the historic average.
Colorado stood out for having some the greatest increases in average daily maximum temperatures in the last five years. At two monitoring stations in Colorado—Pueblo and Alamosa— average daily maximum temperatures exceeded historic averages by more than all but one other station in the continental US, and Grand Junction was more above normal than all but 8 monitoring stations in the lower 48.
Fighting global warming is going to take strong action at all levels of government, and national leaders aren’t the only ones who can make a difference. Many states are taking more local action, and there is a growing feeling that it is time for Colorado to catch up.
“We need to set strong goals for fighting global warming here in Colorado ,” said Silverman. “and there are plenty of things we can do right away, like increasing our use of renewable energy and efficiency, and making our cars cleaner through the use of biofuels and other advanced technologies, that will make Colorado more secure and prosperous while making a significant dent in our global warming pollution.”