The United Nations Environment Program yesterday warned the public and policy makers that global temperatures are on track to increase by an average of 5.2 to 6.1 degrees Fahrenheit (2.9 to 3.4 degrees Celsius) by the end of this century, an increase that would have profound impacts on human societies and nature worldwide.

Today, partners and allies of RenewNV urged Nevada policymakers to act quickly to combat climate change by increasing investments in clean energy, especially in light of impacts already occurring in Nevada and the American Southwest. Scientists have found that in this region, wildfires and extreme drought, both associated with climate change, are threatening the natural environment and human communities and economies.

Countries are meeting now in Morocco to discuss climate change and take steps to slow global temperature increases. Last year, countries met in Paris and produced an agreement to cap greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuels with a goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 3.9 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). The UN Environmental Programme report today highlighted that to meet the agreed-upon benchmark, countries will have to make additional cuts to emissions to bridge an “emissions gap.”

Nevada clean energy leaders issued the following statements in response to the report. Southwest Energy Efficiency Project is a RenewNV ally and the Nevada Conservation League Education Fund and the League of Women Voters of the Las Vegas Valley are RenewNV partners.

Sondra Cosgrove, president, League of Women Voters of the Las Vegas Valley:

The League of Women Voters believes that climate change is the greatest environmental threat of our generation. This report from the international scientific community is yet one more indication that the threat is real and growing. We must, at all levels, seek ways to protect our country from the physical, economic and public health effects of climate change, while also providing pathways to economic prosperity.

Andy Maggi, executive director, Nevada Conservation League Education Fund:

The news once again isn’t good. We’re already facing unprecedented droughts and wildfires in Nevada and this news points to things getting worse, not better. And pollution from fossil fuel plants continues to shorten lives across the globe. If we fail to put ourselves on a path to clean renewable energy, we will continue to suffer from the direct impacts of fossil fuel burning. This generation and future generations will continue to struggle with the impacts of climate change.

Tom Polikalas, Nevada representative, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project:

Climate change poses extreme threats to Nevada’s economy from increased drought and to the health of it citizens, as heat waves are expected to increase in number, length, and intensity in Nevada, according to forecasts. Ironically, Nevada’s clean energy business sector could help reduce carbon emissions nationally and internationally, if better policies were in place to accelerate the market penetration of energy efficiency products, renewable energy, batteries, and electric vehicles–all of which are part of Nevada’s new energy economy. Increased political leadership to advance clean energy policies that mitigate climate change is in Nevada’s direct economic interest.

RenewNV is a partnership of organizations working to build and enhance Nevada’s clean energy economy. Renewable energy means reliable power, clean air, and good jobs for Nevada, and smart energy policies can make the Silver State an economic powerhouse. RenewNV supports policies that will expand our use and export of renewable energy, increase opportunities for energy efficiency and ensure that all Nevadans have access to the new energy economy.