• February 5th, 2023
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Arizona Needs to be Ambitious in Fighting Climate Change


Andrés Cano

 

Climate change is one of the most important issues facing our community today, threatening to harm Arizona’s short-term and long-term economic progress. Unless we act now, climate change’s effect on Arizona’s communities and economy will be pervasive. We know the headlines: temperatures are rising, wildfires are raging, and water supplies are drying up.

 

In fact, last summer was the Northern Hemisphere’s hottest summer on record, shattering local temperatures from Phoenix to Maine, with Arizona facing 144 days above 100 degrees. 520 people here in Arizona died during this record heat wave last summer, and over 95% of the west is living in drought conditions.

 

Unless we act now, climate change’s effect on Arizona’s communities and economy will be pervasive.

 

The impacts of climate change are already here. Increased temperatures are driving our region to become more arid. Temperature increases mean that power outages are a lingering threat throughout our state. These increased temperatures also create conditions conducive to wildfires. In 2020, Arizona lost close to 1,000,000 acres due to wildfires.

 

The solution to a stronger tomorrow is the Build Back Better Act moving through Congress. This bill, which was passed in the House last month, will yield historic and transformative investments to address the climate crisis. We have wide support to get this bill across the finish line – nearly 70% of Arizona voters support the bold clean energy and climate investments that are included in the bill.

 

The Build Back Better Act’s (BBBA) climate investments total more $550 billion – the largest investment our nation has ever made to tackle climate change. These investments will reduce carbon pollution, promote resiliency and preparedness through enhanced infrastructure, and prepare our workforce for the challenges of a changing climate by providing good-paying jobs in the growing clean energy economy. For a city like Tucson, we need these investments to make our city more livable and help build a skilled workforce that can help our communities prepare for climate-related risks — all while addressing environmental injustices.

 

We have choices when it comes to addressing the climate crisis. And science tells us that we need to be ambitious. We can cut carbon pollution in half by 2030, as is outlined in the Build Back Better Act, or we can take the road of inaction — which will lead to greater costs and greater losses of lives and property.

 

My colleagues and I in the Arizona House of Representatives introduced legislation to protect our precious environment, air, public lands, and water. But we need true federal leadership to address the scope of the climate crisis facing our communities. The climate crisis knows no borders. Arizonans deserve better, and the Build Back Better Act will deliver. Coupled with additional clean energy investments from Congress and aggressive executive action to accelerate the transition to clean energy and establish new pollution limits that protect our health and environment, the BBBA will jumpstart meaningful and measurable progress in the fight against climate change.

 

There are great people already working hard in the Tucson area, and across the state, to reduce the impacts of climate change and build a sustainable future for Arizona. This once-in-a-generation challenge requires real support and investment from our partners in the federal government. We’re grateful to have leaders like Tucson’s own Sen. Mark Kelly, as well as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, fighting for us in Washington, and we’re counting on them and all our representatives in Washington to deliver real action on climate by passing the Build Back Better Act.

 

Andres Cano, 29, represents Legislative District 3 (Tucson) in the Arizona House of Representatives. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy, and Water. He is the Chair of the Arizona Legislative Latino Caucus.

 

 

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