This week, countries across the world came together in Glasgow, Scotland, for COP26 to discuss how the world will address our climate crisis. We have joined with more than 537 legislators in 47 states and territories calling on the federal government to raise our ambition and strengthen our national climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. The time for action is now, and as the largest historical contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, the United States has a moral and practical responsibility to reach net-zero emissions by or before 2050.

Across the country this year, we have seen historic damage from hurricanes and wildfires, droughts and flooding, heat waves and cold snaps. As state legislators, we see firsthand the impacts of climate change in our state. In New Mexico, we have been facing extreme drought for years, which has led to the state’s largest wildfires and causes harm to agriculture, including our iconic chile.

That’s why we have started work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Energy Transition Act, which requires electric utilities to get 80 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2040 and be carbon free by 2045. We also passed the Solar Market Development Tax Credit, which provides tax credits to home and small business owners that install solar panels. The New Mexico executive agencies are working on rules to reduce methane emissions now and have just started the process to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road. We plan to continue our work to reduce the use of fossil fuels in transportation and codify economywide carbon reductions during the upcoming legislative session in January.

New Mexico isn’t acting alone. States across the country have been at the forefront of climate action while building the new clean energy economy and addressing systemic inequities. While state action is crucial, we can’t do this alone. States rely on the federal government to serve as a strong baseline for climate action.

Our bold steps can serve as a road map for federal action. For example, more than two-thirds of U.S. states and territories have some form of renewable portfolio standard or clean energy standard, and more than a dozen have committed to 100 percent clean energy. States are also transitioning fleets to zero-emissions vehicles, making buildings more energy efficient, and protecting natural landscapes to enhance carbon sequestration.

Time and again, states continue to fill the void of climate action at the federal level. But in this critical moment, we must stand as united states. Together, with strong international, national and state action, we can take the steps that are needed to avoid further climate catastrophe.

That is why we encourage President Joe Biden, Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, and Reps. Teresa Leger Fernández and Melanie Stansbury to act swiftly and decisively to address climate change. Match and enhance our ambition and dedication in every negotiation room. The U.S. federal government must lead by example in committing to and achieving full decarbonization, just as we strive to do so in our own state.

Mimi Stewart, a Democrat from Albuquerque, is president pro tem of the state senate. Peter Wirth, a Santa Fe Democrat, is the state Senate majority leader.

(1) comment

Paul Gibson

The first thing NM needs tomzake an authentic contribution to th international effort to address the looming climate catastrophe is to begin to grapple with the downstream emissions caused when states and countries burn oil or gas exported from NM.Just because we didn't burn it , doesn't mean we are not at all culpable. We need to find a way to turn off the Permian spigot without destroying our budget. That process can begin with adopting an array of policy options from NM Voices outlined in a recent Retake Our Democrcy blog. tttps://retakeourdemocracy.org/2021/10/19/achieving-economic-justice-in-nm-2022-legislative-session-is-our-time/. We can't continue to claim that the ETA and RPS represents NM decarbonizing while still exporting billions of barrels of oil for others to burn. I am hoping that Sen. Stewart's Diversify the NM Economy Task Fmorce will recommend signicantly inreasing an divesifying state revenue by increasing taxes on our wealthiest New Mexicans, and closing useless but costly corporate tax giveaways. We should also push Biden to press for legislation that would offer federal funds to replace state revenues lost when oil producing states reduce extraction. activities. Onward.

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