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Action Plan Unveiled as Climate-Change Clock Ticks Down

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Friday, July 3, 2020   

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Scientists say only a decade remains to reverse course on the worst impacts of climate change - and to address the looming crisis, House Democrats in Congress have unveiled a net-zero carbon emissions plan they say could be achieved by 2050.

In a press briefing, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján - D-Santa Fe - said climate change threatens the economy, health and future of the state.

"2020 is on track to be the hottest year on record globally," said Luján. "As temperatures heat up, natural disasters will worsen. And in New Mexico, this means hotter and drier summers, and a wildfire season that starts earlier and lasts longer."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that temperatures between 2011 and 2019 were an average of one degree Celsius higher than they were between 1850 and 1900, and are expected to continue to climb.

Luján - who is the Assistant House Democratic Leader - added that extreme weather already plagues rural residents of color in New Mexico.

"This framework also recognizes the environmental justice must include racial justice," said Luján. "And we must uplift communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis."

The House Select Committee on Climate Crisis chair, Rep. Kathy Castor - D-Tampa, Fla. - says the plan comes at a critical moment, as the nation grapples with a health pandemic and civil unrest. She believes the plan could help jump-start the nation's economy by putting people back to work producing clean energy.

"The air that we breathe is more important than ever, and America has to strengthen its supply chains," says Castor. "And this comes at a time where there's an awakening to the need to tackle systemic racism, and making sure pollution isn't accumulating in certain areas of the country."

An independent analysis found the plan could save more than 60,000 American lives each year and $8 trillion in climate and health benefits by 2050. Republicans on the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis have promised to review the plan, but it nonetheless faces a tough road in the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate.


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