A Call to Climate Action

The tide is rising. On September 17th, Guardians and over 40 allies from New Mexico marched with more than 75,000 people in the streets of New York City to demand an end to the extraction and subsidization of fossil fuels in the United States. 

The  march preceded the world’s first Climate Ambitions Summit organized by the United Nations, where UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres set a high price of admission. Only countries bringing “credible, serious and new climate action and nature-based solutions” were permitted to attend the summit, where there would be “no room for back-sliders, greenwashers, [or] blame-shifters…”

President Joe Biden was a no-show

Despite commitments and promises to address the climate crisis and transition away from fossil fuels, the Biden administration approved more drilling permits in the first two years in office than the Trump administration. Biden also approved the massive Willow drilling project, failed to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline, and continues leasing thousands of acres of federal public lands for new oil and gas extraction. 

President Biden hasn’t acted alone. Of course, there’s the fossil fuel industry. In New Mexico,  Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham and her administration also play a part in broken climate promises.

New Mexico: Leader in climate disaster 

Oil and gas companies are pumping out more fossil fuels in the United States than ever before, leading the world in crude oil production. In 2024, fracking companies are projected to break production records yet again. Without a major shift,  the United States will continue its place as one of the world’s top climate killers, poisoning people, wildlife, land, and water along the way. 

In New Mexico, oil production is growing faster than anywhere else in the United States, making the Land of Enchantment a kingpin in the U.S. climate mafia, hosting the world’s largest and cheapest oilfield in the Permian Basin while New Mexico’s environment and communities pay the price. 

Here in New Mexico, frontline and Indigenous communities suffer in the wake of fossil fuel extraction with little recourse. Despite recent laws making excess emissions and spills illegal, oil and gas spills and emissions are increasing while state regulators fail to enforce essential protections. Oil and other liquid toxins spill at an average rate of four times per day, contaminating sacred land and precious water. The consequences of fossil fuel extraction in New Mexico go way beyond the state’s borders. Climate pollution from the combustion of oil and gas extracted in New Mexico alone contributes significantly to the climate crisis.

As the Rio Grande runs dry after the hottest July on record, and as climate-fueled floods, fires, and famines continue to increase the global death toll, the growth in New Mexico and U.S. oil production is nothing short of criminal. The planet needs a just transition. Every day we fail to keep fossil fuels in the ground intensifies the climate threat and magnifies the risks faced by frontline communities.

Take action for a #JustTransition for New Mexico and beyond 

Our New Mexico delegation carried a declaration to NYC demanding that our government stops making New Mexico a sacrifice zone and takes immediate, concrete climate action. Add your voice to our movement and sign your name onto the declaration below:

In order to secure a just and livable future not only for New Mexico but also for Mother Earth, the Biden and Lujan-Grisham Administrations must: 

  • STOP ALL NEW FOSSIL FUEL PROJECTS, including in the Permian Basin, the world’s largest climate bomb, and across the Greater Chaco Landscape. Revoke permits for the Willow Project and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. 
  • IMMEDIATELY PHASE OUT ALL EXISTING FOSSIL FUEL EXTRACTION in line with the 1.5C° temperature limit, ensuring a commitment from the U.S. to do its fair share, and protecting frontline communities during this rapid transition. 
  • REFUSE FALSE SOLUTIONS like hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, nuclear energy, biomass and other greenwashed and geoengineered initiatives that distract from true transition efforts and maintain reliance on fossil fuels. 
  • PROTECT THE SACRED by centering traditional ecological knowledge and rejecting the financialization of nature and commodification of what is sacred, the land, air, water, and our communities. Indigenous and community stakeholder participation is critical to achieving bold climate goals and climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. Embrace Indigenous stewardship principles to sustain balanced ecosystems and biodiversities.
  • DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY AND PAVE THE WAY FOR A JUST TRANSITION to a renewable clean energy future, creating millions of jobs while respecting workers’ and community rights, local healthy job security, and equitable employment. Halt fossil fuel exports and foreign investments, expediting the establishment of fair, resilient, distributed energy systems. Reduce energy consumption to levels sustainable within local ecosystems. 

Join the call for these demands by signing the declaration.

About the Author

Melissa Troutman | Climate and Energy Advocate, WildEarth Guardians

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