The group Elected Officials to Protect America estimated funding included in the Inflation Reduction Act will help cut climate pollution by about 40 percent by 2030. They are woking with the Solutions for Pollution coalition to ensure an additional 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas happens with the federal government making protections stronger. (David Katz/Adobe Stock)

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By Alex Gonzalez

April 21, 2023   

Tomorrow is Earth Day, a day to show support for protecting the planet, and one Nevada lawmaker wants Nevadans to give some thought to actions they could take to help fight climate change.

Asm. Howard Watts, D-Las Vegas, and member of the Elected Officials to Protect America Leadership Council, wants to see more community members engaging with elected officials to continue the push for a clean energy future. Watts, who also sits on the council for the group Elected Officials to Protect America, said it will take huge federal policies like the Inflation Reduction Act, stronger federal environmental regulations and measures at the state and local level to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

He adds it is crucial to not lose hope.

“We’ve seen constant reports about how we’re feeling the impacts of climate change,” Watts observed. “Now, we know that those impacts are going to get worse, but some of these policies that have been recently passed have the opportunity to put us on a much better trajectory.”

Nevada has set a goal to get half of its energy from clean, renewable sources by 2030 and is reaching for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Watts noted the state has made “strong progress,” and calls the Inflation Reduction Act funding “incredible” in helping the efforts.

Watts pointed to the Clark County School District in Las Vegas as just one example of deployment of clean technology, getting funding to convert several of their buses to electric. Watts stressed he is excited about the rebate programs and tax credits coming online to, as he puts it, “help make clean energy available to the average Nevada family.”

“Policies that increase our use of our local clean energy resources are incredibly popular, not only because it’s good for the environment, but because it creates jobs and new economic opportunities,” Watts contended.

Watts added he is convinced Nevadans want “climate action,” which he describes as reducing the state’s contribution to climate change. He cited other closely related issues constituents feel strongly about, including drought and wildfires leading Nevada to experience some of the “worst air quality in the world.”