The national headlines today about the newly released IPCC report and the local headlines about the smoke we are all breathing from fires in California converge to paint a terrifying picture about the future we face and the scale of action necessary to preserve life for our children and all the other beings that share the earth with us. We don't need the headlines though, because we can smell the smoke already, feel the itch in our throats and look out on the gloomy haze that has obscured our view of New Mexico's beautiful mountains. The crisis is already here.
The IPCC report offers a stark warning - major climate changes are inevitable and irreversible, and the only option to avoid catastrophic and permanent alteration of the climate is immediate revolutionary action. The Guardian today quotes António Guterres, the UN secretary general, saying:
“[This report] is a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk." He called for an end to new coal plants and to new fossil fuel exploration and development, and for governments, investors and businesses to pour all their efforts into a low-carbon future. “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet."
We in New Mexico have an outsized responsibility to act with urgency - planned oil and gas extraction from the Permian Basin alone will cause a full 1C temperature increase. We cannot take an "all of the above" approach to our energy future, we cannot continue our subservience to oil and gas industry funds, we cannot allow for-profit corporations to slow walk the climate crisis while they prioritize profits over people. WE MUST BE BOLD. WE MUST ACT NOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF OUR ENERGY FUTURE. WE MUST RECLAIM OUR POWER.
Today we thank those of you who spoke out for Public Power at the PNM Avangrid merger hearing today. Your message came across loud and clear and the evidence of corruption and mismanagement at Avangrid and Iberdrola expanded greatly.
In California, meanwhile, a judge has ordered utility PG&E to explain their role in the start of the Dixie Fire that’s tearing through California and polluting our air in New Mexico - a common cause of fires being lack of pole and line maintenance, a critical safety measure that Avangrid subsidiaries have been found guilty of violating numerous times throughout the northeast.
It is clear that we must disrupt the Investor Owned Utility model if we are going to have any chance of reaching a 100% clean energy future at the speed required. It is too late now for half-measures.