Western Water News

Climate Change is Driving Water Scarcity across the West

Arizona needs progress on its clean energy standards, not retreat

**Este artículo se puede encontrar en español**

An effort in the Arizona legislature threatens the state’s momentum on the use of renewable energy. Proposed legislation would strip away authority from the Arizona Corporation Commission to set renewable energy standards—standards that help attract and retain innovative businesses, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and ultimately, help fight climate change.

Arizona’s single greatest competitive advantage is its abundant sunlight, a missed opportunity if the state does not work to convert it into energy.

Beyond that, we are in a climate emergency. Climate change is the single largest threat to birds, as it disrupts ecosystems and leads to more frequent and more intense natural disasters. Considering North America has lost over 3 billion birds since the 1970s, now is not the time to reduce our limited options in the fight against climate change.

And the public agrees. In a recent poll conducted by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, 70% of Arizonans agreed that the state needs to do more to fight climate change. From Audubon’s perspective, the existing renewable energy standards, as well as the new package proposed by the Arizona Corporation Commission, will, if passed, contribute significantly to the state’s efforts in addressing climate change.

The ongoing hot drought—less precipitation, hotter climate extremes, drier soil conditions—impacts our water reliability. We have already seen the impact of climate change in real-time and adapted to it, just look at the Drought Contingency Plan the state agreed to in 2019. This adaptation is a response to the most severe drought on record on the Colorado River, and Arizona had to figure out how to live with less. 

We must recognize the impacts that climate change has on our water supplies and reduce carbon emissions. Maintaining the Arizona Corporation Commission’s ability to set renewable energy standards is one way the state can stay the course.

Please take action today and tell your legislators to oppose these bad energy bills.


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