New Mexico is facing a drier than normal winter, with reservoirs nearly tapped out and predictions for worse conditions
"Right now, we have a very short timeline, with some really huge obstacles," says Artemisio Romero y Carver, a high school senior in Santa Fe and a member of the steering committee for YUCCA, or Youth United for Climate Crisis Action.
As a youth group, YUCCA can't deliver votes on Election Day. But their voices — and their direct action work to hold politicians accountable — lend an urgency to an issue like climate change that can be missing from policy conversations about the future. Children and teens will suffer the most from the consequences of climate change; as warming accelerates and impacts deepen, they'll have fewer and fewer options for mitigation and adaptation as water supplies shrink, coastal or desert regions become uninhabitable and food insecurity increases.
"We have less than ten years to change the way we use energy and fundamentally change economies if the human species is going to continue past 2050," says Romero y Carver. (In 2019, the United Nations warned that only 11 years remained to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and restructure energy systems to "avert catastrophe" on climate change.)
Even if New Mexico follows through on plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 or 2050, that's too late, he says, pointing out that lags behind the timeline for actions that scientists say can avert the worst impacts of climate change. "We support climate bills that call for this transition within the timeline that is set by science," he says. "That is the only timeline we should consider."