In our state legislature where both chambers are controlled by healthy Democratic majorities, who should we hold responsible for the dismal failure to pass strong climate bills? The honest answer — the Democrats. New Mexico is the country’s second-largest oil producing state and fifth largest natural gas producer. Our state’s impact on global greenhouse gas emissions is massively out of proportion to our measly population of 2.1 million, and our failure to rapidly reduce fossil fuels production is enormously consequential for the planet. Our elected New Mexico Democrats should be sending notes of apology to their constituents and the world.
Jerry Redfern, reporting in Capital & Main (Mar. 29, New Mexico Legislature Fails IPCC Test, https://capitalandmain.com/new-mexico-legislature-fails-ipcc-test) enumerated some of the bills that died: “Stricter regulation on who can drill wells? Dead. A provision allowing citizen groups to sue when the state drags its feet over prosecuting oil and gas companies? Dead. A nominal increase in oil and gas taxes that applies only to future wells only on state lands? Dead. Updates to the state’s 80-year-old foundational oil and gas law to include protections for human and environmental health? Dead. A fund to help fossil-fuel energy workers transfer to new careers? Dead. The latest in a years-long push to add environmental protections to the state constitution, similar to one in red state Montana? Dead.”
The oil and gas industry knows its days are numbered.
The undeniable scientific consensus is that rapid fossil fuel phase-out and roll-out of renewable energies alongside energy efficiency measures are urgently required to avoid irreversible damage. Whatever oil and gas reserves remain underground must stay underground to preserve a livable planet for our children’s future.
Between 2016 and 2021, Wells Fargo provided $272 billion in lending and underwriting to the fossil fuel industry, third among global banks. Its fossil financing increased $20 billion from 2020 to 2021, the most of any global bank. Wells Fargo was also the world’s biggest banker of fracking in 2021.
In 2022, shareholders of Wells Fargo Bank tried to change that by introducing resolutions that proposed, by the end of this year, the bank adopt “proactive measures to ensure that the company’s lending and underwriting do not contribute to new fossil fuel supplies.” Although the bank has been making grand announcements about setting targets to reduce its lending to fossil fuel companies, in line with the Net Zero Banking Alliance, it’s mere greenwashing. Wells Fargo Bank fought the shareholder resolutions tooth and nail.
On March 21, PDA-CNM and 350NM organized an action in front of Wells Fargo in downtown Albuquerque, in concert with nearly 100 other actions nationwide organized by The Third Act, Bill McKibben’s new climate group targeted towards activists 60 years and older. Despite the rain, 20 people showed up and grabbed the attention of passersby with signs focused on the message Stop Dirty Banks! Our message for Wells Fargo Bank — Stop funding our planet’s destruction. If you won’t shift your business towards life-affirming investments, like the solar and wind renewable energy sector, we will cut up your credit cards and move our money to responsible financial institutions. Ward McCartney from 350NM used his gigantic scissors to symbolically cut up a huge credit card. The Raging Grannies sang songs especially tailored for the occasion, such as Which Side Are You On (life on earth or profits?) and The Climate, It Is A-Changing. Check out ThirdAct.org to get involved in future climate actions.