The Colorado legislature has adopted a bill that would significantly boost funding for the state’s climate change adaptation program and would also create a new state job training program for climate scientists and engineers.
The bill, SB 852, has passed the state House and is currently before the Senate for approval.
The bill is the product of a state task force that produced a “statewide vision” for climate adaptation.
The committee recommended that $1 billion be allocated for climate mitigation and adaptation in 2018 and 2019, as well as $500 million for climate education in 2018.
The committee also recommended that an additional $2 billion in funds be made available for “researcher and teacher training” and $1 million for the creation of a climate science training program.
Other recommendations include:A $25 million fund to establish a state climate science apprenticeship program that will train 1,000 Colorado-based scientists and educators.
The apprenticeship is designed to create a pathway to professional degrees in climate science.
The state will also create new positions in climate change science education for state employees.
The legislation also includes $300 million for additional funding for climate science research, $2 million for a “research lab” for the Colorado Division of Forestry and $500,000 for an “aeronautics innovation program.”
The bill would also authorize $2.5 million for an initiative to train scientists and install “climate-aware” equipment in the state Department of Transportation.
Other climate adaptation priorities include creating new “climate change-focused” state-funded climate science jobs programs for Colorado-area high school students, the creation and expansion of a Climate Solutions Program, and the creation or expansion of an “environmental sciences” and “environmentally sensitive agriculture” program.
The goal is to create more climate science faculty positions and expand state-supported climate science programs.
The proposal also includes:$500 million to create an apprenticeship and a job training initiative for Colorado climate scientists.
The training program is designed “to give Colorado-trained scientists the opportunity to pursue careers in the fields of climate science and engineering.”
The initiative will also require the creation, implementation and testing of “climate adaptation” devices for commercial vehicles, such as carbon capture and storage.
The climate adaptation initiative also requires the creation “of an apprenticeships program that is a model for the rest of the country,” the bill states.
The proposed bill would require the state to spend $5.5 billion over four years to establish “a state-wide climate science workforce” and to create “a climate science education and workforce for Colorado public school teachers.”
The bill also calls for a $1,500 annual salary for the “environmentary scientist” and a $500 annual grant for the program.
Colorado is the first state in the nation to enact a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the proposal, the state would use a levy to pay for climate change mitigation and adaptive measures.
The Colorado Department of Revenue estimates that a statewide carbon tax of $100 per ton of carbon dioxide would cost the state $8.7 billion over the next four years.
The Senate and House will likely have to reconcile the bills before it passes out of committee.