Arizona Needs Bold Climate Action, Congress Must Act Now.

President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda Will Reignite Arizona’s Economy While Protecting Communities from the Worst Effects of Climate Change

Clean Energy Investment Means Jobs For Arizona. Transitioning to 100% clean energy economy will help Arizona’s economic recovery by putting tens of thousands of people to work building clean energy sources, making buildings and homes more energy efficient, and restoring our public lands.

  • Arizona is already a clean energy jobs leader, ranking 19th nationally in clean energy employment, but the state has significant untapped opportunities to expand it’s growing clean energy industry, especially in the solar sector.
    • Arizona is home to 56,504 jobs in the clean energy sector.
  • Arizona ranks second in the nation in solar energy potential after Nevada and fourth in net generation from solar after California, Texas, and North Carolina.
  • Federal investments in clean energy would be a jolt to Arizona’s clean energy economy, creating thousands of new good-paying jobs, as federal clean energy stimulus investments totaling $99.2 billion could generate 16,564 jobs in Arizona per year over a 5 year period.

Arizonans Are On The Front Lines of The Climate Crisis. Dangerous extreme weather has become increasingly common throughout Arizona as triple-digit degree days, historic wildfires, and record drought threaten Arizonans’ lives and livelihoods.  Arizonans also breathe some of the nation’s most polluted air, causing increased asthma rates in both adults and children. It’s not just Arizona’s air that is polluted, the state’s water systems also face toxic industrial groundwater pollution, PFAS contamination, and lead exposure. 

  • From 2010 to 2020, Arizona experienced 13 extreme weather events that cost at least a billion dollars each, totaling $129.4 billion in damages.
  • Arizona is currently facing an immense water crisis, as the state enters its 26th year of long-term drought. Widespread drought in Arizona is expected to more than triple by 2050, underscoring the need for investments in better water management and climate resilience. 
  • Drought has ravaged the Colorado River Basin, threatening Arizona’s water supply. 
    • The Colorado River provides as much as 36% of the state’s water supply, and as much as 20% of the river could dry up by 2050 due to climate change.
    • Arizona is preparing to lose one fifth of the water it receives from the Colorado River.
    • The Colorado River Basin brings water to 40 million people, including residents  of Phoenix and Tucson. The river provides irrigation for 5.5 million acres of agriculture, and 22 Native American tribes.
  • Intense drought, combined with extreme temperatures, create tinderbox-like conditions. Last year, Arizona saw its worst fire season ever, with over 970,000 acres burned in 2,520 wildfires. As of June 2021, 177,016 acres have burned in 132 wildfires. 
    • Currently 2.9 million people, or 45% of Arizona’s population, are at elevated risk of wildfires. By 2050, Arizona is projected to see 115 days with high wildfire potential, second only to California.
  • As the fourth-fastest warming state, Arizona is projected to see almost 80 days of extreme heat per year by 2050, with heat wave days more than tripled by 2050.
  • Arizona saw its second hottest and driest year on record in 2020, where a record number of 323 people died from heat in Maricopa County, a 62% increase from 2019.
  • More than 100,000 Arizonans are especially vulnerable to extreme heat, which disproportionately impacts communities of color, low-income people, senior citizens, and individuals experiencing homelessness. 

The Climate Crisis and Pollution Disproportionately Affect People of Color. Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities are hit hardest by extreme weather and pollution. Investing in clean energy is essential to end environmental injustice and ensure new opportunities for frontline and fenceline communities.

  • Burning fossil fuels is poisoning Arizona’s air and water. Phoenix’s air is among the most polluted in the nation, and asthma rates in predominantly Latino and African-American South and West Phoenix zip codes are some of the highest in the country.
    • 90% of Arizona’s Latino population lives in a county that received a failing grade for ozone air pollution from the American Lung Association.
  • In June 2021, groundwater on Tucson’s south side was found to be so contaminated with PFAS chemicals that a plant that has been treating the water for 27 years would be shot down.This cut-off would deprive the city of an alternative drinking source if the Central Arizona Project cuts back on water deliveries as wells in the city have already been shut down due to contamination.

Arizona Is Among the Hardest Hit By Climate Change. Inaction Is Not Only Expensive, It’s Not An Option. Studies show Arizona will suffer more than the rest of the country from the effects of climate change. Arizonans’ health, safety, and economic vitality are all at risk.

  • Arizona is expected to suffer worse than the rest of the country under climate change and this comes at a steep cost.
    • Climate change will cost Arizona over $17.4 billion annually by the year 2100. 
    • If emissions continue to rise unchecked, counties in Arizona could be among the worst hit by climate change, with losses of 10 to 20 percent or more of GDP.
  • Climate change is projected to cause a 37% loss in crop yields in Arizona, including a 69% loss in cotton production, with annual crop losses from drought of as much as 12% annually over the next 20 years. 
    • As drought worsens, cotton yields are expected to decline by about 10% per year for the next 20 years.
  • Climate change could force Arizona residents to pay up to $110 extra annually in electricity bills. Arizona businesses could see an added cost of over $5,500 for electricity by 2040 due to climate change.
    • As of October 2020, a utility efficiency program with the goal to achieve at least 22% in cumulative annual energy savings by the end of 2020 has saved Arizona ratepayers more than $1.4 billion.

Arizonans Want Bold Solutions. Regardless of political affiliation, Arizonans overwhelmingly support strong investments in clean energy. Scientists’ warnings are playing out in Arizonans’ backyards, and they need Congress to dramatically reduce emissions and halt the worst of the climate crisis.