Phoenix, Arizona (May 5, 2021) – Western Resource Advocates today decried the Arizona Corporation Commission’s refusal to advance an update to the state’s energy rules that would have required a 100% carbon emissions reduction by 2050; the commissioners instead approved an amendment to make the carbon standard optional, and then rejected the rule altogether.
“Today the Arizona Corporation Commission rejected the carbon emission reduction standard approved last November and failed to help our state reduce the harmful fossil-fuel pollution that causes climate change,” said Adam Stafford, Western Resource Advocates’ senior staff attorney in Phoenix. “Arizona’s major utilities have all said they want the regulatory certainty of a firm emissions reduction standard, and the commission today has failed to provide that. Our state needs strong action and solid standards for reducing the emissions that cause climate change and realizing the economic benefits of clean energy.”
“This is not the end, however” Stafford continued. “Addressing climate change is far too important an issue to accept no for an answer. Our children are counting on us, and we will continue to advocate for meaningful climate policy in Arizona.”
In a 4-1, bipartisan vote last November, the commission voted to begin the formal process to update the state’s Energy Rules to require a 100% carbon emissions reduction by 2050, with interim carbon dioxide reductions of 75% by 2040 and 50% by 2032. Today, the commissioners voted 2-3 against advancing the Energy Rules update, after approving an amendment to make the emissions reduction targets voluntary “goals” for the state’s utilities.
Arizona already is experiencing severe consequences from climate change. Phoenix and Tucson are two of the hottest cities in the United States. During the past 20 years, Arizona and other states across the Southwest also have experienced megadrought driven by climate change.