Before you do anything else, do take a look at this video by Trevor Noah…

ARIZONA

ARIZONA

As the sixth largest state, Arizona has a lot of land, and a lot of desert. Situated at the heart of the scorching American Southwest, Arizona regularly clocks in as one of the hottest states in the country and is home to the two hottest cities in the United States. As the Earth warms, Arizona’s 7.3 million residents face life-threatening rising temperatures and ever-dwindling water supplies. In 2021, 113 confirmed heat-related deaths in Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix) was double 2020’s number. Arizona’s homeless population will be particularly vulnerable to this health hazard. The dry, hot terrain also contributes to the state’s ongoing megadrought, which adds to a whole host of issues including the diminishment of the Colorado River, which supplies water to over a third of Arizona’s population. As temperatures have risen and drought intensified, wildfires have grown larger and burn more severely.

Arizona’s energy trends lend some hope, however. Per capita energy consumption in Arizona is already among the lowest in the nation, and the state is uniquely poised for a switch to renewable and clean energy. It has some of the best solar resources in the country and produces the nation’s highest-grade uranium — crucial for nuclear energy generation. Arizona has put this resource to work in the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the nation’s largest nuclear power plant. Palo Verde generates more electricity annually than any other U.S. plantsecond only to the Grand Coulee Dam in total electricity generating capacity. Fossil fuels, unfortunately, continue to play a significant role. Since 2018, Arizona has reduced its dependency on coal but shifted to natural gas, which has become the state’s largest single energy source — generating one third of it’s power. The rest of the state’s energy comes from renewable sources, with a special emphasis on solar. Arizona ranks 5th in the nation for total solar installations.

In 2006, Arizona’s Climate Change Advisory Group was charged with preparing an inventory and forecast of Arizona’s greenhouse gas emissions and developing a Climate Change Action Plan with recommendations on how to reduce the state’s emissions. The report included a comprehensive set of 49 policy options.

By September of 2021, Arizona does not yet have a statewide adaptation plan despite the fact that they are the fourth-fastest warming state in the country. Local communities have taken up the battle as best they can. In 2009, Phoenix, the 2nd fastest warming city in the U.S., completed its  Climate Action Plan, which it plans to update by the end of 2021. Its goals: to become a carbon-neutral city by 2060 operating on 100% clean energy, with new buildings being net positive by 2050, and significant greenhouse gas reduction targets between 2025 and 2050. In July, 2020, Flagstaff declared a climate emergency. In September 2020, Tucson, the third fastest warming city in the nation, also  declared a climate emergency and will implement a decade long plan,  “Framework for Advancing Sustainability,”   to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Arizona lawmakers don’t make change easy. For example, in January of 2020, The Arizona Committee on Natural Resources and Energy voted to stop cities from prohibiting construction of natural gas-powered buildings.

In August, 2020, a highly anticipated meeting of the Arizona Corporation Commission ended abruptly, amid disputes over a roadmap to clean energy. In May, 2021  Arizona’s utility regulators rejected new rules that would have required most of the state’s electricity providers to get 100% of their power from clean energy sources by 2050 to limit carbon emissions and address climate change. Later that month the ACC, voted 3-2 to restart a rule-making process to establish a 100% clean energy standard for the state.  The commissioners are expected to vote on a final rule in the fall of 2021. Don’t hold your breath.

Or read the Sierra Club’s 2021 Environmental Report Card for the Arizona Legislature and Governor.

CURRENT NEWS

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

In Arizona, the Future of Renewable Energy Is on the Ballot

12/06/22
When political pundits call Arizona a key swing state in November’s midterm elections, they’re talking about the races for control of the US Senate and House. But it’s a down-ballot contest that makes Arizona a…

Revolve’s 250-MW Arizona solar project to be shovel-ready in 2024

11/16/22
Revolve Renewable Power Corp (CVE:REVV) expects that its 250-MW Parker solar project with battery storage in Arizona to enter the ready-to-build stage in 2024, the Vancouver, Canada-based company announced today.

These four U.S. nuclear plants will start producing clean hydrogen

11/14/22
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is partnering with utilities on four hydrogen demonstration projects at U.S. nuclear power plants.

AZ Corporation Commission approves changes to plan to expand wind power in Arizona

11/14/22
The Arizona Corporation Commission has approved a modification to a plan for new transmission lines. The vote could pave the way for more wind energy in Arizona. 

Flagstaff’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

04/02/20
The Flagstaff Climate Action and Adaptation Plan is a road map for how Flagstaff will prepare for and respond to climate change.

City of Phoenix Climate Action Plan for Government Operations

04/02/20
Phoenix has been recognized as a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability and has a long history of implementing pollution control and natural resource conservation programs.

Arizona Climate Change Action Plan

04/02/20
Arizona's Climate Change Advisory Group, formed by executive order, was charged with (1) preparing an inventory and forecast of Arizona's greenhouse gas emissions, and (2) developing this Climate Change Action Plan with recommendations for reducing…

KEY RESOURCES

Images of change

07/03/22
Disappearing Lake Mead, Nevada-Arizona Border

Arizona State Profile and Energy Estimates

09/23/21
Arizona is known for its stunning landscapes and natural wonders from the Grand Canyon in the north to the Saguaro deserts in the south. The state has few fossil fuel reserves, but it does have…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

Sustainable Cities Network

11/09/20
Connecting communities, advancing sustainability, and cultivating solutions.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Arizona

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Arizona experienced one drought and one wildfire. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Arizona

07/31/20
Arizona is vulnerable to increasing heat, melting snowpack, droughts, and wildfires

Preparing for Climate Change in Arizona

04/02/20
Arizona has not developed a statewide adaptation plan. Other resources from the Adaptation Clearinghouse, which have been developed by the state and localities to help communities prepare for climate change, are highlighted below.

Arizona state at risk

04/02/20
States at Risk is a project aimed at showing how Americans in all 50 states are experiencing the impacts of climate change. Our work focuses on five threats — extreme heat, drought, wildfires, coastal flooding…

Renewable Energy Standard & Tariff

04/02/20
In 2006, the Commission approved the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST). These rules require that regulated electric utilities must generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2025. Each year, Arizona's utility…

MORE NEWS

Tribes in the Colorado River Basin are fighting for their water. States wish they wouldn’t.

By Jessie Blaeser, Joseph Lee, & Anna V. Smith   11/16/22  
In early November, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case brought by the Navajo Nation that could have far-reaching impacts on tribal water rights in the Colorado River Basin. In its suit, the…

Regulatory approval for SunZia Transmission paves the way for a Southwest renewable energy corridor

11/15/22  
Pattern Energy Group, a renewable energy developer, announced its SunZia Transmission project received the approval of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to build a 550-mile high voltage direct current transmission line from New Mexico to…

AZ foresters to use prescribed burns to help manage wildfire risk

By Ron Dungan   11/15/22  
As the weather cools, Arizona’s fire season becomes a thing of the past. But fire managers are taking advantage of autumn weather. Historians say that fire is a natural part of the landscape. But foresters…

Impact of the megadrought: Arizona cattle ranchers slashing herds to cut costs

By Justin Lum   11/15/22  
The reality of the water crisis is stark and the effects of the southwestern region’s mega-drought continue to trickle down on cattle ranchers in Arizona. From 2019-2021, 336,000 cattle have been sold through auctions across…

The future of water in Arizona

By Mary Beth Faller   11/15/22  
The landscape at Lake Mead in Arizona looks apocalyptic. Drastically lowered water levels that have left a “bathtub ring” around the perimeter and uncovered junk that was thrown into the reservoir decades ago have changed…

Arizona’s winters expected to get wetter thanks to climate change, research shows

By Hunter Bassler   10/27/22  
Monsoon marks when the Sonoran Desert turns from dry and dusty to wet and windy. However, it's not the season that best helps replenish Phoenix's water supply, according to numerous researchers at a recent conference…

The Arizona climate that could have been: How Napolitano would put the state back on track

By Joan Meiners   10/26/22  
The Monday in January when Janet Napolitano took office as Arizona's first Democratic governor in a decade was warm, but not exceptionally so. The high of 65 degrees fit in the upper range of normal for temperatures recorded in Phoenix on…

Deadliest summer for heat-related deaths in Arizona’s biggest county

By Associated Press   10/25/22  
Maricopa county’s 359 heat-associated fatalities this year outpace 339 deaths confirmed in 2021, figures showThis summer was the deadliest on record for heat-related deathsin Arizona’s largest county, with public health statistics this week confirming 359…

With $6M grant, researchers will explore how Southwest communities can best adapt to climate change

By Catherine Broski   10/25/22  
In the desert, the climate can be fickle and intense. While it's mostly hot and dry, there can also be wet and cool conditions interspersed throughout the year. On top of this variability, the desert…

Titanium dioxide coating could keep roads and bike paths cooler

By YCC Team   10/18/22  
Biking or walking on a hot day can make you feel like you’re in an oven because dark pavement absorbs and retains heat. But applying a special coating to streets and bike paths could help…

Sierra Club gives poor marks to AZ utilities on climate change response

By Ron Dungan   10/18/22  
The state’s major utilities have publicly committed themselves to clean energy. But conservationists say they have a long way to go if they are to meet their goals. The Sierra Club recently issued a nationwide…

Phoenix could see deadliest year for heat deaths after sweltering summer

By Nina Lakhani   10/08/22  
Extreme heat contributed to as many as 450 Deaths in Phoenix.....

Disconnected and ‘dehumanized’: How thousands across Phoenix survive without running water

By Zayna Syed   09/11/22  
Tim Wiedman caught COVID-19 last December. A few days later, he developed bronchitis. A double whammy, he called it. The illnesses sapped his energy so much that, for six weeks, he could barely get off…

Facing ‘dead pool’ risk, California braces for painful water cuts from Colorado River

By Ian James   09/04/22  
California water districts are under growing pressure to shoulder substantial water cutbacks as the federal government pushes for urgent solutions to prevent the Colorado River’s badly depleted reservoirs from reaching dangerously low levels.

The Fight Over The Colorado River’s Water Is A Symbol Of The Larger Climate Crisis

By Alejandro De La Garza   08/29/22  
There’s something familiar about the high stakes water use drama playing out in the U.S. Southwest. The mighty Colorado River serves as an economic artery of the region, powering massive hydroelectric dams and supplying water…

A New Round of Colorado River Cuts Is Announced

By Henry Fountain   08/16/22  
With water levels in the Colorado River near their lowest point ever, Arizona and Nevada on Tuesday faced new restrictions on the amount of water they can pump out of the river, the most important…

See How Far Water Levels in Lake Mead Have Fallen

By Winston Choi-Schagrin   07/22/22  
In 2000, Lake Mead was full of deep, midnight-blue water that flooded the banks of the rivers that fed it. But 20 years later, it has shrunken drastically. And its basins are lighter, too, almost…

A Painful Deadline Nears as Colorado River Reservoirs Run Critically Low

By Henry Fountain   07/21/22  
States in the Colorado River basin are scrambling to propose steep cuts in the water they’ll use from the river next year, in response to a call by the federal government for immediate, drastic efforts…

Recent rain allows forests in US Southwest to reopen

06/24/22  
The monsoon has delivered much-needed moisture to the parched region and relief from scorching temperatures. Forecasters say Arizona has a good chance of getting above-average rain through the season that runs through September. New Mexico…

Arizona wildfires gut observatory buildings, endanger artifacts

By Marisa Iati   06/23/22  
In the latest example of the expanding reach of wildfires, a trio of blazes in Arizona has gutted several buildings at a national observatory, forced the evacuation of a historical monument and threatened other archaeological…

Arizona Wildfire Destroys Observatory Buildings

By Neelam Bohra   06/19/22  
The fire, known as the Contreras fire, has scorched more than 18,000 acres, twisting among Indigenous-populated areas in the state near Tucson, and scientists might not be able to return to the observatory for weeks.…
cnn

Hundreds are urged to evacuate due to wildfire near Flagstaff, Arizona, as thousands more are told to prepare to leave

By Elizabeth Wolfe & Others   06/13/22  
The Pipeline Fire was first reported by a fire lookout at around 10:15 a.m. Sunday and has grown to 4,500 acres, according to InciWeb, a US clearinghouse for wildfire information. Burning slightly west of Schultz…

A Day Without Rain Is Like 22 Years In America’s Southwest

By Arthur Keith   06/04/22  
The Southwest is melting down. Between the heat and lack of moisture, it’s become an inferno. This year is already worse than last year, which was a catastrophe. So should we call this catastrophe-plus?

The Vanishing Rio Grande: Warming Takes a Toll on a Legendary River

By Jim Robbins   06/02/22  
Hiking through the emerald green canopy of the bosque, or riverside cottonwood forest, near downtown Albuquerque, Tricia Snyder, an advocate for WildEarth Guardians, believes zero hour has arrived for the Rio Grande. Though the river…

Lake Mead could still tank in 2023, despite all we’ve done to save it

By Joanna Allhands   05/20/22  
Whatever buffer we may have had (or thought we had) at Lake Mead, it is quickly disappearing. The May 24-month study makes that plain. The monthly, two-year forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has…

The Colorado River is in crisis, and it’s getting worse every day

By Erin Patrick O'Connor   05/14/22  
It is a powerhouse: a 1,450-mile waterway that stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez, serving 40 million people in seven U.S. states, 30 federally recognized tribes and Mexico. It hydrates 5…

Colorado River drought may be the ‘new normal’ and living with it will be costly, leaders say

By Brandon Loomis   05/07/22  
Arizona needs to rapidly invest in both water conservation and new supplies to offset losses from a shrinking Colorado River, the state’s top water officials warned Friday.

As drought crisis deepens, government will release less water from Colorado River reservoir

By Ian James   05/03/22  
After years of severe drought compounded by climate change, the water level in Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir on the Colorado River, has dropped to just 24% of full capacity and is continuing to decline…

‘We are human beings’: Randolph residents bus in to Phoenix to protest SRP expansion plans

By Joshua Bowling   04/12/22  
A group of residents from a small, historically Black community some 60 miles southeast of Phoenix traveled by bus Tuesday morning to protest a major gas plant expansion. As state regulators prepared to vote on…

As Lake Powell Hits Landmark Low, Arizona Looks to a $1 Billion Investment and Mexican Seawater to Slake its Thirst

By Aydali Campa   03/23/22  
During his last year in office, Gov. Doug Ducey is trying to create a legacy of water security in drought-stricken Arizona. But his most ambitious effort in that quest could end up being in Mexico.

Tree rings from centuries past may help reveal a warming planet’s future

By Karen Peterson   03/23/22  
Each specimen in a strangely beautiful “treehouse” laboratory here tells a story of resilience — from droughts and floods to catastrophic wildfires and bitter winters, some occurring thousands of years ago.

Lake Powell Is in Big Trouble

By Molly Taft   03/09/22  
Lake Powell, on the border of Utah and Arizona, is a crucial reservoir along the Colorado River, part of a system that supplies water for 40 million people in multiple states across the West. As…

In major reversal, Arizona utility regulators kill 100% clean-energy rules in the state

By Ryan Randazzo   01/26/22  
The rules appeared on the verge of passage last year when Jim O'Connor, a Republican member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, and Anna Tovar, a Democratic member, reached a compromise.

New electric-car chargers in downtown Tucson meet growing need

By David Wichner   01/14/22  
Electric vehicle drivers will have more options to recharge while in downtown Tucson, thanks to a new bank of chargers installed by Hotel Congress that is seen as a model for other businesses.

Arizona needs a truly regional power market to keep the lights on (and affordable)

By Nate Blouin   01/12/22  
Arizona’s electric grid faces unprecedented challenges in the form of heat waves, wildfires, drought and other impacts of changing climate. These threats test the limits of our infrastructure, meaning we must adapt and innovate the…

Dam providing power to millions nears critically low water level

By Benjamin J. Hulac   01/12/22  
A federal dam in Arizona that provides electricity to millions of Americans is at risk this year of running out of the minimum level of water required to generate that power.

As the Colorado River shrinks, can new technology save water on farms? The answer is complicated

By Alex Hager   01/11/22  
On a warm November day in Yuma, Arizona, the desert sun is beating down on a sea of low, green fields. Here, near the banks of the Colorado River, Matt McGuire is surveying an expanse…

Absorbing Water from the Air with Hydropanels: The Next Step in Tackling Water Scarcity?

By Clarissa Wright   01/11/22  
The water available for each living person on the Earth is dropping every day. Yet, a huge portion of the planet’s water is in the air. To tap into this easily overlooked resource, companies have…

Ducey announces historic investment in Arizona’s water future

By Shelle Jackson   01/11/22  
The plan would invest $1-billion to secure Arizona's water supply over the next century. Details will be included in Governor Ducey's budget proposal, to be released Friday.

As the Colorado River shrinks, can new technology save water on farms?

By Alex Hager   01/11/22  
On a warm November day in Yuma, Arizona, the desert sun is beating down on a sea of low, green fields. Here, near the banks of the Colorado River, Matt McGuire is surveying an expanse…

Here’s what you need to know about the Phoenix Climate Action Plan

By Olivia Dow   01/10/22  
Locals are familiar with extended days of extreme heat in the summer – but they might not realize the average temperature in Phoenix has increased 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1970s, according to Climate Central.

Investing in Arizona’s Water will Improve Outlook for People and Birds

By Haley Paul   01/07/22  
In Arizona, as throughout much of the West, the situation is serious. And while recent storms bring welcome moisture for thirsty western landscapes, one wet winter will not reverse 20 years of drought. We hope…

Colorado River forecast improves with early snow, but the outlook could still change

By Brandon Loomis   01/07/22  
Early winter rain and snow across the interior West have improved the outlook for springtime flows on the Colorado and other rivers that supply the Southwest.

Groups gather at Arizona Capitol to call for environmental action, representation

By Nicholas Gerbis   01/06/22  
Representatives from environmental groups, faith-based organizations, science and government on Wednesday gathered at the Arizona state Capitol Rose Garden to present their priorities for the governor and Legislature.

With less water on the surface, how long can Arizona rely on what’s underground?

By Alex Hager   01/04/22  
In Arizona, verdant fields of crops and a growing sprawl of suburban homes mean a sharp demand for water in the middle of the desert. Meeting that demand includes drawing from massive stores of water…

Legislature proper place for energy policy

12/17/21  
A fundamental disagreement exists with the premise of Sen. Paul Boyer’s opinion article entitled Arizona’s energy mix is best set by the experts. That’s not the Legislature published in The Arizona Republic on November 17,…

Arizona utility selects Landis+Gyr to expand smart metering with new prepayment system

By Nicholas Nhede   12/15/21  
Salt River Project, a community utility based in the US state of Arizona, will be modernising its grid and billing system with a new prepayment system. Landis+Gyr and PayGo have partnered to deliver and manage…
PBS

New study outlines high costs of extreme heat in Phoenix, Arizona

By Anita Snow   12/06/21  
Extreme heat is expensive. That’s the conclusion of a study presented Monday by The Nature Conservancy, which commissioned a look at the costs of rising temperatures in Phoenix.

Taking Charge: Kore Power CEO Lindsay Gorrill on building a battery manufacturing ecosystem in Arizona

By Jason Plautz   11/24/21  
As the Biden administration pushes massive investments in clean energy as part of a goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050, the White House wants the technology behind that energy to be homegrown.

The climate crisis has huge costs for Arizona, but state leaders can’t fight it alone

By Sen. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson   11/04/21  
This week, countries across the world are coming together in Glasgow for COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, to discuss how the world will address our climate crisis. I have joined with more…