Connecting the Dots: COP26, NM’s ETA, Net Zero

As promised in our Nov. 5 post, today we examine what must be learned from the Energy Transition Act and how the process that refused examination or amendment created a law with terrible consequences. We then examine Net Zero, the latest climate policy initiative offered up by our Governor, and one that was excoriated by indigenous representatives and climate activists at COP26. (These are Parts 2 and 3 of our Nov. 5 post.)

Please note, at the end of this post is information about:

  • “An Evening with Dennis Kucinich,” moderated and staged by our friends from Progressive Democrats of America, Central NM chapter.
  • “Climate Crisis and Militarism,” A Zoom-based moderated discussion from Veterans for Peace, Santa Fe NM.

Greenwashing in Glasgow & New Mexico

Before we begin, I want to alert you that this is a lengthy post with links to research and studies, plus video that is critical to understanding all that is at stake and the not-so-subtle forces that work to ensure that nothing proposed in Glasgow, Washington D.C, or New Mexico will upset the capitalist-imperialist hegemony that rules the world so tightly. We’re publishing this on Sunday as we thought that might give you more time to fully absorb the content. But just as there are no shortcuts to addressing the looming climate catastrophe, there are no shortcuts to grasping all that is in play in Glasgow, Washington, and NM. We tried to connect a ton of dots in this piece. Please pour a cup of coffee and take the time to absorb what follows. Happy Sunday.

Indigenous Perspective on COP26

The video below provides a very different view on what needs to result from COP26: Keep it in the ground. It begins with Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, who spoke strongly against Net Zero at COP26. In the same clip, stay tuned for comments from Luis Arce, President of Bolivia, who labels COP26, “the polluters conference.” Following Arce is Bill McKibben, founder of They set the table nicely for the second video below featuring Greta Thunberg and Ugandan Climate Activist Vanessa Nakate.

Greta Thunberg On COP26: “More Blah, Blah, Blah”

Amy Goodman offers a 30-second intro but quickly turns the mic over to Vanessa Nakate, Ugandan climate activist, followed by Greta Thunberg. Nakate is particularly powerful, but Thunberg offers one telling comment after another. With these two videos, we get a perspective seldom seen in mainstream news: voices from communities of color, the Global South, and indigenous people. Our legislators should view these videos. Very illuminating.

And In New Mexico

As we pointed out in our Nov. 5 post, there are no simple solutions out there for NM, and it is not unreasonable that the Governor, legislators, and some environmentalists seek any and all policy options for addressing the looming climate crisis while stalling the decision to shut down the Permian Basin. Without adequate steps to diversify our revenue, that decision would cause significant loss of revenue to fund our early childhood programs, K-12 school systems, colleges and universities. But during the NM Climate Summit in late October, rather than hearing presentations on how we must diversify our revenue base and how that could allow us to begin reducing Permian Basin drilling now, there was a ton of backslapping and high fives celebrating all we have done and cheering the Governor’s new net zero plan.

If you haven’t read it, it would be good to read our Nov. 5 post first, as we laid out how we stand at a moment in time throughout the world and here in NM when we must begin to make meaningful sacrifices and cease being seduced by the latest sleight-of-hand initiatives that offer a veneer of progress while not making the sacrifices that must be made. Again, with the current volume of Permian Basin barrels produced and exported and the amount of methane emitted 24-7, we simply do not have the right to ignore the option of shutting down the Permian Basin ASAP, especially because we actually do have options for replacing a significant proportion of lost revenue.

It is time to run toward sacrifice and stop looking for ways to run from it. We must not be deluded by bogus policy initiatives that run from sacrifice and toward a future that is only a mirage.

While there is much hope contained in Solnit’s article referenced in the Nov. 5 post, I keep coming back to her cautionary tale. She asserts that you need to be a policy wonk to assess the complexity of the technologies and policies being introduced, that many initiatives are difficult to comprehend, and that both political and environmental leaders can easily be misled and then mislead us to trust policies that are dressed in green ribbons and offer disingenuous promises. So while we must not give up, we must be very cautious about who we trust and which policies we support.

For this reason, it is important to examine the process and the results of the Energy Transition Act As this review reveals, the 2019 legislative process and the campaign to pass the ETA was an entirely uncritical process in which legislators and grasstops enviro groups pushed to pass the ETA without amendment, saying that any amendments to fix the ETA would have made PNM unhappy. So a flawed but fixable bill became NM law, law with disastrous consequences. We can’t afford to repeat the ETA process in relation to Net Zero, and there are signs that that is exactly what is coming. And so we must revisit the ETA and learn from our mistakes.

What We Must Learn from The Energy Transition ACT

The videos above deliver a strident call to meaningful action on the part of the Global North. We must examine the false promises and the rush to pass the ETA without serious consideration of what it would and wouldn’t do. We will look briefly at how almost none of those ETA promises are being kept, and then we will discuss the utterly uncritical process that allowed a bill to pass despite having so many flaws. Finally, we will examine how, similarly, the Net Zero initiative is being launched with more fanfare and uncritical acclaim than is warranted for a concept so roundly ridiculed in scientific research communities. First, the unfulfilled promises of the ETA.

We Were told the ETA Would Make NM a National Leader in the Pursuit of a 100% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

While achieving 100% RPS may be possible, it is important to understand what RPS is, what it measures and, more importantly what it fails to measure. The ETA is utterly silent on the damage caused by the export of our gas and oil from the Permian Basin, Four Corners, and San Juan. The Renewable Portfolio Standard measure is simply not a legitimate indicator of NM’s contribution to addressing climate change. The RPS may fairly reflect the proportion of renewable energy NM consumes, but it conveniently externalizes the far greater impact of the gas and oil we produce and export. We fear that those same policymakers now organizing support for Net Zero will construct calculations in such a way that they do not include the impact on climate caused by the use of the millions of barrel of gas and oil we produce and export.

It would be very good indeed if Net Zero could push NM to have e-vehicles in every garage and perform state-of-the-art energy conservation in every NM community. These would be good things. But if we continue exporting billions of barrels of oil and contribute to huge downstream emissions that are not part of the calculation, achieving Net Zero is useless — worse than useless, as it would give leadership the opportunity to prance about, high-fiving their success, while we failed our children utterly.

Our children and grandchildren will recognize our dissembling and won’t forgive us.

We Were Promised the ETA Would Not Limit PRC Authority

We were promised that PNM would not be able to use the ETA to secure hundreds of millions of dollars from ratepayers to reward PNM for decades of imprudent decisions at Four Corners. Yet in recent PRC hearings, PNM attorneys have held up the ETA in their effort to recover costs once deemed imprudent by the PRC. From Searchlight: “Bad Energy: “The Energy Transition Act was supposed to get New Mexico away from coal, but PNM is using it to line its pockets.

In 2016, utility regulators reviewed PNM’s continued investment in Four Corners — just as other utilities around the nation were pulling out of coal. In hearings at the time, PNM claimed that staying in Four Corners was the cheapest option. The hearing examiner found that the utility’s decision actually cost more. 

The finding would have put PNM on the hook for all of its investments in the plant, a major blow to shareholders. But the utility’s regulator deferred a vote, leaving the decision hanging.

With the hammer ready to fall, PNM threw its support behind legislation that would give utilities automatic reimbursement when abandoning coal plants. The last of these bills was the ETA, which passed in 2019. 

PNM claims that this law overrides the hearing examiner’s past decision and entitles the utility company to collect all its former investments in Four Corners by charging its customers.

From Searchlight: “Bad Energy: The Energy Transition Act was supposed to get New Mexico away from coal, but PNM is using it to line its pockets.

“It’s clear cut,” Ray Sandoval, a spokesman for PNM, said. “If the concerns [about Four Corners] were valid concerns, they should have been brought up in the legislative process.” Not to be a stickler, but concerns were raised repeatedly in the Roundhouse by New Energy Economy, Retake, Wild Earth Guardians, and other grassroots groups. And those concerns were repeatedly dismissed by Camilla Feibelman (Sierra Club), Noah Long (NRDC), Tom Solomon (350NM), Rep. Nathan Small, and other legislators supporting the legislation who were hell-bent on passing the ETA to achieve their revered 100% RPS, no matter what loopholes were created to allow PNM to run roughshod over the PRC.

We Were Promised That the ETA Would Not Allow Sustained Drilling at San Juan or Four Corners or Allow Natural Gas Production

PNM is actually using the ETA to enable drilling in Four Corners to continue until 2031.The ETA is also being used to promote and potentially fund sustained fossil fuel extraction. This was not how legislators and grasstops enviros described the ETA in 2019. From Searchlight:

But along with potentially handing PNM a windfall for abandoning Four Corners, the ETA has not delivered on many of its promises.  

Four Corners, under current terms, won’t close until 2031. The San Juan Generating Station, set to close next year, may also continue running, though permits for that project have not yet been filed.

Meanwhile, managers of fossil-fuel projects in the San Juan Basin are applying for ETA money. 

From Searchlight: “Bad Energy: The Energy Transition Act was supposed to get New Mexico away from coal, but PNM is using it to line its pockets.

We Were Told that ETA Retraining Funds Would Be Used to Train Displaced Workers in Emerging Industries Like Wind and Solar Installation

Yet Capital & Main reports that “San Juan College School of Energy continues developing new programs to train students for jobs in natural gas production — both for export and for creating hydrogen fuel.” And San Juan College is aligning with other gas and oil advocates to vastly expand natural gas extraction and exportation. From the NM Political Report:

Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative’s (WSTN) has proposed establishing San Juan College’s School of Energy as a “Center of Excellence” for developing ESG standards for oil and natural gas produced in the region. It would also create an ESG fuels certification program at the college.

In the information it submitted, WSTN said this would focus on environmentally-friendly extraction and liquified natural gas (LNG) could be exported to Asia, which it claims would lead to a reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

It would also provide high-paying jobs in an area with abundant natural gas. The submitted project proposal states that the program could lead to increased production of natural gas in the San Juan Basin. This would come through opening new markets for the sale of the commodity.

But opponents say it would extend the reliance on fossil fuels and is contrary to the Energy Transition Act, which provides a roadmap to a carbon-free energy future in New Mexico.

Itai Vardi, a research and communications specialist at the Energy and Policy Institute, said that studies have shown that LNG does not actually reduce emissions. Vardi highlighted a Natural Resources Defense Council study from December and another from the Environmental Integrity Project that was released in the fall.

Vardi said the Environmental Integrity Project study indicates that if all the proposed LNG facilities in the United States are approved, it would be equivalent to about ten new coal-fired power plants. He said there is an enormous amount of emissions throughout the process of extracting natural gas, exporting it abroad and then burning it in Asia.

The NRDC study states that if LNG grows as projected it will be nearly impossible to keep global temperatures from increasing above the 1.5 degrees Celsius point that scientists warn could lead to catastrophic climate impacts.

NM Political Report: “Some energy transition funding project proposals include fossil fuelsby Hannah Grover

All of this points to the critical importance of examining the details in any climate legislation before endorsing it. The devil is in the details and the process must allow time for deliberation, with legislative leadership and Net Zero advocates receptive to genuinely incorporating input and criticism. This did not happen at all during the ETA process.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I can’t tell you how many times Sierra Club’s Camilla Feibelman and David Coss, supported by Noah Long (NRDC), promised me personally that the ETA would not allow continued drilling or production of natural gas and that the PRC’s authority was protected. Fast forward two years and the worst of what New Energy Economy, Retake and others predicted is all coming to pass.

A toxic environment during the 2019 legislative session was created in which honest input was treated as treasonous for undermining the Governor’s effort to shut down coal and deliver benefits to displaced workers and transitioning communities. Critics of the ETA were called “elitist” and unconcerned about displaced workers and impacted communities, instead of being respected and listened to.

Fortunately, the ever-vigilant Searchlight has taken a deep dive into the bowels of the ETA and exposed how PNM out-maneuvered the Governor, our legislators, and many grasstops “enviro” orgs like Sierra Club and CVNM. From Searchlight:

The Energy Transition Act was passed in 2019 to great fanfare from environmental groups. The law set a deadline for New Mexico to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045 and created financial mechanisms designed to help utilities get out of coal quickly and to help communities transition their economies away from fossil fuel.

Wrapped in bureaucratic language, utility cases are little understood by the public. But the stakes in these proceedings are high for anyone who lives in New Mexico and they have a major impact on the future.

The abandonment proceedings have brought scrutiny from lawmakers and other supporters of the ETA. A final decision is pending and due by December. The Four Corners case is the latest obstacle in New Mexico’s transition to clean energy.

Rising costs have left Four Corners so expensive to operate that PNM, the state’s largest utility, wants out — and is asking its customers to pony up and pay for the more than $300 million in investments and other costs associated with the plant.

To justify that demand, the utility is invoking the Energy Transition Act, the 2019 law heralded by environmentalists as a road map for other states to move away from fossil fuels. The landmark legislation established financial tools for New Mexico to close its coal plants and help surrounding communities transition their economies. 

But while PNM has laid claim to the financial incentives under the law, its abandonment proposal will not close Four Corners. Instead, the utility would transfer its shares to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company, an independent enterprise of the Navajo Nation, that has declared its intentions to keep the plant running as long as possible. 

Environmental groups — most of which supported the passage of the ETA — have cried foul, arguing that PNM is misusing the law by failing to push for Four Corners’ retirement….

Searchlight: The Energy Transition Act That Was Supposed To Get New Mexico Away From Coal Is Bringing In Big Money
PNM Is Using the Law to Line Its Pockets As It Abandons Four Corners Power Plant

The bitter truth with the ETA is that significant parts were written byor vetted by PNM, and whenever we pressed for changes we were told: “PNM would never sign off on that. The bill will die, Four Corners will remain open, and there will be no relief for workers or communities. If you care about displaced workers, you need to support the ETA.”

An Uncritical Process with No Willingness to Consider Concerns

So given how many committee hearings are part of the legislative process and how many opportunities there are to offer comment and amend a flawed bill, how did the ETA sail through without amendment?

Before the ETA had even been written, Sierra Club secured over two dozen supporting organizations and a large number of legislators as bill sponsors. The ink wasn’t dry on the ETA bill, yet the Governor and Sierra Club hosted an ETA lovefest at Temple Beth Shalom followed by an extended celebration of the ETA at the Roundhouse with Speaker Egolf, the Governor, and other legislators extolling the bill. Once introduced, efforts to offer input were rebuffed.

Organizations like New Energy Economy, Wild Earth Guardians, Retake Our Democracy, and a handful of grassroots indigenous organizations scoured ETA language and tried to warn legislators. But Sierra Club, CVNM, and 350NM were more interested in celebrating a huge win and nurturing their access to the Governor than fixing a badly flawed bill. Indeed, those pointing to ETA problems were criticized as being “elitist and unconcerned about the suffering of displaced workers and transitioning communities.”

We can’t abide another uncritical stampede to accept Net Zero, hydrogen production, and carbon swaps without substantive analysis of what these policies can deliver.

The stage is set for another uncritical rush to judgment with Net Zero, and since we can’t rely on corporate environmental groups to scrutinize the truth behind the window dressing, we need to do it ourselves.

While these corporate environmental orqanizations are now crying foul, claiming that PNM is misusing the ETA, in truth PNM is using the ETA exactly as it was intended: to line their pockets at ratepayer expense and to allow Four Corners to continue to operate. Earth be damned. But along with potentially handing PNM a windfall for abandoning Four Corners, the ETA is being manipulated in other ways.  

Four Corners, under current terms, won’t close until 2031. The San Juan Generating Station, set to close next year, may also continue running, though permits for that project have not yet been filed.

Meanwhile, managers of fossil-fuel projects in the San Juan Basin are applying for ETA money. 

Searchlight: The Energy Transition Act That Was Supposed To Get New Mexico Away From Coal Is Bringing In Big Money
PNM Is Using the Law to Line Its Pockets As It Abandons Four Corners Power Plant

These are the kinds of unintended consequences that result when well-intentioned but close-minded leadership fails to consider input from advocates with a different perspective.

And now the PRC will attempt to exert its authority and hold PNM accountable, while PNM attorneys will use the ETA to argue that the law is the law and thus the PRC has no authority to protect ratepayers from PNM’s insatiable thirst for profit. No doubt, the suddenly ‘woke’ grasstops orgs will cry foul. Would that they had listened two years ago and fixed the bill before it was made law. Or even last year, when Sen. Sedillo Lopez tried to pass legislation to amend the ETA to restore the PRC’s authority. But to have reversed course and acknowledge the ETA needed revision in either 2019 or 2020 would have required those who had advanced the ETA to acknowledge that PNM attorneys had outsmarted them and that the ETA was badly flawed and in need of important fixes.

Resisting input and criticism insulates policymakers in their own world view and prevents learning from other perspectives and experience. We can’t manage the Net Zero debate in an environment governed by defensiveness and self-certainty.

Why Is It Important to Revisit the ETA Saga Now?

It is important because the same enviro orgs who advanced the ETA are now trying to celebrate the new false promise: Net Zero. Only here it isn’t just Retake and New Energy Economy sounding the alarm. Researchers around the world are also alarmed, as are Tom Goldtooth, Vanessa Nakate, Greta Thunberg, and Luis Arce in the videos at the top of this post. Not that this has caused the Sierra Club to raise concerns. In fact, they have taken the lead in celebrating another wolf in sheep’s clothing. We offer verbatim the Sierra Club’s rush to judgment email below, an entirely uncritical announcement, flags waving, email that paints Net Zero as the greatest thing since well, the ETA. Gulp.

With today’s announcement, Gov. Lujan Grisham heads to the UN Climate Summit with deep climate commitments under her wings. By putting net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 into law this coming year, New Mexico and the Governor will continue to lead the country toward a livable climate and a just transition. We know New Mexicans want bold, just climate solutions and 100% clean energy. We know our climate champions in the Legislature understand the climate emergency and the urgency to complete this critical work in the 30-day session,” said Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director.

From Oct. 25, 2021 Sierra Club email supporting Net Zero

Notice how the Sierra Club’s language simply assumes that Net Zero is something climate champions will support, despite highly credible researchers who fear that the real intent of Net Zero is to allow the fossil fuel industry to continue unfettered, with their negative impacts balanced by fanciful, unproven technological advances such as those advanced at the much ballyhooed NM Climate Summit last month. Note how Feibelman assumes that the Governor’s Net Zero bill will pass in 2022. There isn’t a word that suggests the need for inquiry or debate, or even for more details about how NM’s Net Zero calculations will be designed. Yet there is ample reason to question Net Zero. From

James Dyke, Assistant Director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, criticized net zero targets as a ‘great idea in principle’ but which ‘help perpetuate a belief in technological salvation and diminish the sense of urgency surrounding the need to curb emissions now….Net zero targets are a “fantasy” that often just protect “business as usual.”

From “Net zero policies are ’emperor’s new clothes,’ academics warn”

From we hear concerns from serious scientific research, concerns that can be found all over the Internet. I am sure that Sierra Club et al have researchers who have found this and other articles expressing strong concerns about how Net Zero can be misused and abused to enable business as usual. How do they see this information and then write over-the-top euphoric emails announcing a policy that has been so roundly critiqued? We need a different kind of leadership from Sierra Club, leadership we can trust to stick to facts, research options, consider differing views, and as appropriate, challenge political leadership and question authority.

It would be good if the Governor’s office also looked more deeply into policies like this instead of rushing to embrace them. Details, facts, and research should hold greater sway than glossy brochures, false promises, and campaign contributions.

More from citing Dr. Dyke, Wolfgang Knorr, and Professor Sir Robert Watson, who have written an entire book on the shortcomings of climate change policy, with several chapters devoted to Net Zero.

In a chapter titled “Why net zero policies do more harm than good,” Dr. Dyke and his co-authors Dr. Wolfgang Knorr and Professor Sir Robert Watson argue that the discourse around net zero hinges on deploying potentially dangerous ‘fairytale’ technologies such as carbon capture.

Their essay looks at how projecting a future with more trees was first used by the US to “in effect offset the burning of coal, oil and gas now.”

From “Net zero policies are ’emperor’s new clothes,’ academics warn”

In NM, just wait and see how we minimize our Permian Basin impacts by ignoring the greenhouse gas it emits once it is burned in the states and nations to whom we sell it, as if we can escape culpability for those impacts because they occur in other states and nations. It is one planet and we can’t operate in a world where the impact of our extraction ends at the NM border.

Achieving “net zero” requires that any carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions are balanced by absorbing an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere — sometimes called negative emissions. More than 100 countries, including the biggest three emitters — China, the United States, and the European Union — have pledged to achieve net-zero targets in the coming decades. They are being applauded for finally getting a grip on climate change.

But while the net-zero strategy has united policymakers, it has divided climate scientists and activists. Some see the rush to make net-zero pledges in the run-up to Glasgow as a huge success for climate action. But in a blistering commentary last month, a former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Robert Watson, and two co-authors denounced net zero as a trap set by industrialists and governments to hoodwink the world and lambasted climate researchers for showing “cowardice” in not calling them out…

Watson and his colleagues admit to their own roles. “We admit that it deceived us,” he and fellow climate scientists James Dyke of Exeter University and Wolfgang Knorr of Lund University in Sweden wrote. But “the time has come to voice our fears and be honest with wider society… Current net zero policies will not keep warming to within 1.5 degrees, because they were never intended to. They were and still are driven by a need to protect business as usual.”

The International Energy Agency now says that meeting net zero requires an immediate worldwide end to approvals of new oil and gas fields — meaning all drilling for more oil or gas reserves should cease. This puts it at odds with oil giants that are promoting corporate net-zero strategies while continuing to search for more oil.

Yale Environment 360: “Net-Zero Emissions: Winning Strategy or Destined for Failure? by Fred Pearce

Note the reference to how, instead of resting on faux Net Zero laurels, we need to cease continued exploration…the one thing that appears to be “off the table” in NM. Note also how easily Dr. Dyke acknowledges he had been misled but that the time has come to be honest with the public. It would be refreshing to hear our Governor say how much it pains her to continue, but that she has not found a way to do that without without decimating our children’s education and support systems. At least that would be honest.

They [Dr. Dyke et al] describe Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) as a “savior technology,” saying “the mere prospect of carbon capture and storage gave policy makers a way out of making the much-needed immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.”

From “Net zero policies are ’emperor’s naw clothes,’ academics warn”

Rather than searching for a way out, NM should be facing the impacts of our Permian extraction head on, as it is described in the Permian Climate Bomb: the Permian Basin could produce more oil, gas, and gas liquids in the next 30 years than it has in the past century. Compared to emissions from the two power plants impacted by the vaunted ETA, emissions from the Permian are projected to equal 141 coal plants by 2030! Essentially, Net Zero policies could allow government to continue to do business as usual while making claims that they are substantially and meaningfully addressing the climate crisis.

In NM that means continuing our unwavering commitment to drilling the Permian Basin and relying on fanciful reductions in omissions purported to be generated elsewhere (e.g. hydrogen, carbon credits, etc.), to offset the damage done. Net Zero is more an accounting trick than a serious commitment to reducing omissions, and it is essential that New Mexicans are well informed in the technologies being advanced and how Net Zero calculations are used to gloss over NM’s real contribution to the climate crisis. If our leadership won’t be honest with us, we must become fully informed and then be honest and persistent with them.

We just held a Climate Summit in Santa Fe and instead of much hand-wringing about how much we are contributing to the looming climate catastrophe, we acted as if that impact did not exist. Where was the breakout: “Could we shut down the Permian Basin?”

As Dyke et al go on to describe, Net Zero advocates do not trouble themselves with the science of whether their technologies will work, they just ask the world to take a leap of faith to believe that they will work because, otherwise, we would have to face the inconvenient truth and do the more challenging work of actually cutting emissions by keeping oil where it needs to stay…in the ground. You can’t just wave off the impact of 141 coal plants with the stroke of a Net Zero pen.

“The argument appears to be that net zero technologies will work because they have to work,” they add. “But beyond fine words and glossy brochures there is nothing there. The emperor has no clothes.”

From “Net zero policies are ’emperor’s new clothes,’ academics warn”

If you don’t believe researchers’ on Net Zero, how about the Wall St. Journal:

As leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for the United Nations climate-change conference, you may think the world has agreed to reduce and eventually eliminate its dependency on fossil fuels, stepping up its reliance on renewable energy. Even Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who won an election opposing costly climate policies, now proudly embraces net-zero emissions by 2050.

But the timeline for the transformation is entirely unrealistic. The politicians who make promises about how energy will be delivered within three decades can be fairly certain that they will be merely footnotes in history. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims that all cars sold in Britain will be electric by 2030. But he doesn’t acknowledge that on current trend there won’t be enough electricity to power all of these cars.

Wall St. Journal: Net Zero By 2050? Don’t Plan on It
Politicians promise an unrealistic transformation that would deny poor countries a chance to grow.

I have downloaded Negotiating Climate Change In Crisis, the book penned by Van Dyke et al, have begun reviewing it, and will continue to pour over it in the next week. In the interim, I ask that all of you resist the impulse to sign on for another fanciful, shortcut to a sustainable future and that many of you take some time to follow the links in this piece and become better informed and ready to press our enviro and political leaders to wrestle with the future of our children and our planet more authentically. As Solnit asserted, there is reason for hope. But to realize the future she sees as possible, we must keep our eyes and minds critical and not follow the lead of disingenuous leaders and their remarkably uncritical allies into rat holes that achieve nothing but offer comfort that you can drill and drill and still address climate crisis simultaneously and without sacrifice.

Van Dyke et al, in their book Negotiating Climate Change in Crisis, outline where we are headed if we do not confront the looming catastrophe authentically. It is not pretty.

It should now be getting clear where the journey is heading. As the mirage of each magical technical solution disappears, another equally unworkable alternative pops up to take its place. The next is already on the horizon—and it is even more ghastly. Once we realise net zero will not happen in time, or even at all, geoengineering—the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system—will probably be invoked as the solution to limit temperature increases. One of the most researched geoengineering ideas is solar radiation management—the injection of millions of tons of sulphuric acid into the stratosphere that will reflect some of the Sun’s energy away from the Earth (Reynolds 2019). It is a wild idea, but some academics and politicians are deadly serious about it, despite its significant risks. The US National Academies of Sciences, for example, has recommended allocating up to US$200million over the next five years to explore how geoengineering could be deployed and regulated. Funding and research in this area is sure to significantly increase.

It is astonishing how the continual absence of any credible carbon removal technology never seems to affect net zero policies. Whatever is thrown at it, net zero carries on without a dent in the fender. The argument appears to be that net zero technologies will work because they have to work. But beyond fine words and glossy brochures there is nothing there. The emperor has no clothes.

Negotiating Climate Change in Crisis by Dyke et al

As with the ETA, the devil is in the details. Do you trust that those who uncritically brought us the ETA have done their homework on Net Zero? I hope you don’t.

Do you realize that if we don’t make sacrifices now, in 2-3 years when we’ve run out of options policymakers will begin promoting solar radiation technology as our only chance we have to maintain our way of life (i.e. sustain our gluttonous commitment to capitalist-driven consumption). And then we will really be rolling the dice with the future of the planet. We do have better options now, we just need the time and courage to make hard decisions and prudent sacrifices.

We will have more on Net Zero as the details of how NM plans to implement it become clearer. Stay tuned, but while we await more details, take some time to follow the links and watch the videos above. Then share this post with others. We can’t arrive at the 2022 legislative session unprepared or we will be flattened under the Sierra Club-MLG steamroller, fueled on false promises and unbridled optimism.

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Coming Events

An Evening with Dennis Kucinich

PDA CNM invites you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: An Evening with Dennis Kucinich
Day and Time: Weds., Nov 10, 6 PM MT (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 825 0454 5357
Passcode: 058459

Climate Crisis and Militarism: A Moderated Zoom Discussion

The Santa Fe Chapter of Veterans For Peace invites you to a Zoom session featuring a slide show presentation by the Climate Crisis and Militarism Project of Veterans For Peace. The slide show presentation will take approximately 20 minutes, followed by an open discussion moderated by Jim Janko, one of the developers of the slide show. We are hoping that climate activists from as many Santa Fe climate-concerned organizations as possible will attend. See info below:

Categories: Climate Justice

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2 replies

  1. Hi Dynamic Duo – First off, it appears stroking out can lead to a new look inside the human brain. But, and I do not mean this as a critique, the zonal flow of your latest utterances, often called stream of consciousness, including all that research, is a lot to handle in your last few posts.

    Before getting to the meat of the subject matter, let me offer, humbly, a scientific recommendation about how to present complex info. Go back to your days of outlines, and abstracts. Understand that you, the presenter, are obliged to communicate to the least familiar of your readership.

    That means providing an outline, contextually explained in brief but concise terms, of what you are about to say. Then show that outline, followed by an abstract.

    Now to the MEAT of your presentation, which I know involves Rox and staff.

    The first is TRUST in language, and the humans uttering that prose. Trust no one without multiple channels of vetting, including documented certifications of agreement and collaboration. Without these documented tellings, words are poison.

    Second is the insistent paradigm of HOW the energy system allegedly works, in contrast to how it actually works. I say this because, in spite of tons of workable info on how to modify and re-create human energy demand behaviors, nothing ever changes, except that more time plus more info always equal more consumption. The info actually works against its premise.

    If we do not concede that humanity is teetering on the breaking point between sanity and debauchery, we are tragically naïve, and believing that our precious and diminishing time is best spent on putting round pegs in square holes is time lost.

    The ETA was a hoax, and all of us who know language and scientific translations, understand its malfeasance.

    Instead, let us concentrate on the O and G itself, its availability, its functional use, not its capitalist profit use, Let them pump all the oil they want.

    BUT, they STORE, as FUTURES, 80 percent for the next 15 years. They sell, in country, 15 percent of that oil, on a yearly basis of production to sales. Only five percent is available for out-of-country sales.

    They can ‘store it’ IN THE GROUND OF NEW MEXICO, FOR A FEE that is equivalent to the production of a dollar to dollar amount of renewable plus conservation – 60-40 percent.

    The caveat of the 80 percent is that IT WILL BE USED FOR the most needed HEAVY LIFTING that only FF can deliver at this time and for the next 15 years. Easily defined and adjudicated by NM law, written by anybody but Egoff and his cronies.

    We, the sane and the compassionate, cannot capitulate to the intimidation of the weak but hostile forces that have a DEATH WISH, not only for the sake of their religions – oil and heaven – but for the rest of us, who they do NOT give a hoot in hell about, other than what we can do for them for basically NOTHING.

    Fear never changes, it just repeats itself, again and again. Courage changes everything.

    Strength and honor. Or extinction.

    Mick Nickel


  2. Assuming New Mexico wanted to stop production in the Permian, how much power/authority does the state have? About 50% of the current leases are on federal land, from what I can tell. (FYI, the huge windfall NM got in 2020 was because companies were afraid Biden would end leasing on federal lands, so they went on a binge to stockpile leases. The industry is good for the next 3-4 years no matter what.).

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