Making Santa Fe a leader in renewable-energy and sustainability programs can contribute to our economic development while at the same time securing our energy future. What’s more, it will help us answer the global imperative of climate change, making our city more resilient in the face of the single most important challenge we will ever face.
The city has made tremendous progress in energy efficiency, and I’m proud to say that 25 percent of the electricity our city facilities use is generated by renewable-energy sources, but we can do more. That’s why last November, Santa Fe’s governing body passed a resolution establishing the goal of Santa Fe being carbon-neutral by 2040. It’s an ambitious goal, but by working together, I believe it can be achieved.
I created a Climate Action Task Force to identify new and innovative ways to tackle the challenges of climate change faced by our community. Over 70 environmental, energy, water, land management and renewable-energy experts from across Santa Fe have been working together on committees to develop recommendations on how we can improve our efforts in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency; water, land management and food security; transportation; recycling and waste management; and to identify sources of financing that can help make those efforts a reality. It truly is a comprehensive public effort.
But, creating long-term, impactful change is an issue that spans generations. That’s why the Sustainable Santa Fe Commission will be working with the task force to draft a 25-year Sustainable Santa Fe Plan that will serve as a roadmap in our pursuit of achieving carbon-neutrality. The plan will identify specific programs, projects and policies by which Santa Fe can reduce its carbon emissions; establish and implement community-wide energy-efficiency programs; increase the use of renewable energy; continue to conserve water and natural resources; improve our economy by creating green jobs; increase environmental protection; and educate our children about the environment, all while measuring our progress year after year, in order to hold us accountable to future generations.
Now and in the future, the effects of climate change will have an impact on virtually every decision our community makes. Throughout this edition of Green Fire Times, you will see examples of how hard our community is working to make Santa Fe a better place by developing and implementing a host of sustainability programs; they are but a small sampling of what is taking place here. I am excited and confident that the path we are creating will lead to success and will help ensure Santa Fe’s and our region’s long-term health and well-being.