A new study in Nature confirms oil, gas and coal production must begin falling immediately to give humanity even a 50% chance of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is no longer subject to debate, and arguments for halfway measures that make vague promises of a future transition, perhaps through the magic of carbon capture, are baseless.
Everyone knows that revenues from fossil fuels have been the backbone to the state’s budget. Everyone knows we should have transitioned away from the oil and gas industry many years ago, but there’s no more kicking that can down the road. We must keep fossil fuels in the ground and end fossil fuel subsidies now. These subsidies are driving unprecedented expansion of U.S. fossil fuel exploitation. Over the next 10 years, the United States is on track to account for 60% of the global growth in oil and gas production. Every dollar we spend to support dirty energy makes it more difficult to achieve the 100% renewable energy future we need to avoid climate chaos.
For many years, the New Mexico congressional delegation has balanced precipitously on the fine line between championing strong environmental protection measures while at the same time supporting the oil and gas industry. That dual-track is unacceptable now. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján either side with the future, and support the elimination of all fossil fuel subsidies, or they side with the obsolete dinosaurs that are destroying our future.
There’s no straddling the middle ground. Anything less than a complete repeal of these subsidies is cynically just greenwashing.
Heinrich and Luján must join their Democratic colleagues who oppose the $121 billion tax subsidies in the budget reconciliation process for oil and gas production. Workers and families currently supported by that industry must be offered retraining and supported in their transition to new sustainable jobs.