Thank you, Dawn Buckingham, Texas Land Commissioner, for your piece against the Climate Pact. I would like to express my gratitude to the electric company and the oil and gas industry for how they have contributed to my comfort, that of our city, and the livelihoods of its many employees.
I sympathize with your stance against the climate pact. I also hope that climate chaos is not upon us and that there is no need for change. I hope the warm weather doesn’t lead to 18 weather events in 2024 across the country that cost more than $1 billion each, while claiming 450 lives.
I wish higher temperatures didn’t make storms more intense, like the 60 inches of rain in Hurricane Harvey in Houston that killed 100 people and caused $125 billion in damage. I wish 14 hurricanes didn’t hit North Texas in December in one day and that the 2024 fire in our neighboring New Mexico didn’t cost $65 million, destroying 859,906 acres.
I hope we continue to operate “as usual” and that the oil and gas industry has no negative effects.
May this well-established business, which provides so many life-giving services, not exact a heavy price on the lives of climate refugees and those who will outlive you and me – our descendants.
more:Climate pact supporters are targeting criticism from El Paso business chambers
I hope there is a simple way forward and no complications. But there is no. This is why I support the Climate Compact with its three goals of reducing El Paso’s contribution to climate change, investing in an environmentally sustainable future, and promoting climate justice.
Half of all signatories under the age of 35 to include this on the ballot have a deep understanding of the “business as usual” misfortune. As a 73-year-old educator, I respect their efforts to work towards a green economy that is developed, innovative, and fair.
With the charter, we will follow in the footsteps of thriving cities like San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Austin. They all have climate plans that provide green jobs for their cities. El Paso is experiencing a brain drain with a population growth of only 0.01%, while those cities are growing.
The Climate Pact is the beginning. Sets goals and evaluates the democratic process. I support the city creating solar jobs and buildings using rooftop solar energy whenever possible. After paying back the initial investment within five years, the city will have access to clean energy in perpetuity. The $11 million paid to El Paso Electric in 2024 will be available for other purposes. This was not mentioned in the external advisor’s study.
more:El Paso’s pact battle is testing whether the Texas city will move away from fossil fuels
The charter is an invitation to examine opportunities, to move in the direction of an economy not based on fossil fuels. I understand that this is a threat to the fossil fuel industry, which knew in 1977 from an Exxon study that carbon dioxide emissions could raise the temperature by 2-3 degrees and threaten life on the planet.
The El Paso Chamber does not endorse the 170,000 jobs that will be created with green economy innovation that help stop El Paso’s brain drain. Her study misrepresents the charter as a mandate rather than an invitation to evaluate possibilities. There will be no requirement for individuals or small businesses to use solar energy.
Yes, Ms. Buckingham, fossil fuels are tried and true — and dirty and deadly. I wish it wasn’t.
It’s a daunting task to support Texas, our veterans, and our children without destroying land, air, and water in the process. The Climate Pact is El Paso’s move to address the fact that a warmer planet causes bigger storms, higher seawater, more droughts, more winds, more migration, more fires, and more floods. This is heavy lifting and we need every sector to think outside the box and work together. This is the call of the Climate Compact.
Lori Marshall is a member of the Eco El Paso board of directors and founder of the Unity Through Creativity Foundation.