Early this morning, U.S. Senator Tom Udall joined his colleagues from the Senate Climate Action Task Force for an all-night session urging Congress to take action on climate change. In a speech from the Senate floor, Udall highlighted the impact of climate change in New Mexico and other Southwestern states, which are experiencing one of the longest, most severe droughts in history.
"New Mexico and the Southwest are at the bull's-eye when it comes to climate change," Udall said in his speech. "We know it's a serious problem, the American people know it's a serious problem, and we want something done."
Using a series of graphs and photos that showed how the drought has dried up reservoirs and shrunk the snowpack in New Mexico, Udall illustrated the impact scientists say climate change is having on the region. But, he added, we can combat global warming by developing a strong clean energy sector that will cut pollution, create well-paying jobs and reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil. He highlighted New Mexico's success with a "do it all, do it right" energy portfolio, noting that the solar, wind and advanced biofuels industries are already creating new high-tech jobs.
"New Mexico has been focusing on solutions," he said. "One of the solutions sitting right in front of us is renewable energy. We know that we're going to have to deal with this problem one way or another. It's much better to deal with it earlier."
Udall is the lead sponsor of a national renewable electricity standard he worked to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives and has introduced in the Senate every Congress since he was elected in 2009.
"We know we have the ability to cultivate solutions. This is a problem that faces the entire world. So we need the United States and the entire world working together in a cooperative way to solve this," he said.
Udall, who is also a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, was the 30th senator to speak during the all-night session.