This week, nations from all over the globe gathered in Glasgow, Scotland for COP26 to discuss how they will address the climate crisis. We joined over 537 legislators representing 47 states and territories to call on the federal government for more ambitious climate goals and strengthening our national climate commitments under Paris Agreement. It is time to act now. The United States, which has been the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in history, has a moral responsibility and practical responsibility to reduce its emissions to zero by 2050.
This year, the country has seen unprecedented damage from droughts and flooding and heat waves. As state legislators, state legislators are able to see firsthand the impact of climate change on 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. This provides tax credits to small- and medium-sized business owners who install solar panels. The New Mexico executive agency is currently working on rules to reduce methane emissions and have just begun the process of increasing the number electric vehicles on New Mexico’s roads. We will continue our efforts to reduce the use fossil fuels in transportation, and to codify economic carbon reductions during January’s legislative session.
New Mexico isn’t acting alone. States across the country have been leading climate action and building a clean energy economy. They also address systemic inequities. While state action is crucial, we can’t do this alone. The federal government is a strong foundation for climate action in the states.
Our bold actions can be a guide for federal action. For example, more states and territories in the United States have some type of renewable portfolio or clean energy standard. More than a dozen have pledged to 100 percent clean power. States are also making their fleets zero-emissions, making buildings more efficient and protecting natural areas to increase carbon sequestration.
States continue to fill in the gaps at the federal level for climate action. We must stand together as united states in this crucial moment. We can all work together to prevent further climate catastrophe by taking strong international, national and state actions.
This is why we urge Sens. Joe Biden to act swiftly and decisively to address climate change. 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 improve our ambitions and dedication in every negotiation room. The U.S. federal Government must set an example and commit to full decarbonization just like we strive to do it in our own state.
Mimi Stewart, a Democrat hailing from Albuquerque is the president pro tem for the state senate. Peter Wirth is a Santa Fe Democrat and the state Senate majority leader.