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California, Nevada lawmakers pledge action on climate change

Amid record wildfires and a years-long drought, some of California’s elected officials met with their Nevada counterparts across state lines Tuesday to pledge action on climate change.

At the Sand Harbor Nevada State Park Amphitheater, next to the lake, hundreds gathered to hear from California and Nevada elected leaders, including Gov. Gavin Newsom at the 26th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit — an event dedicated to addressing a changing climate.

California Sen. Alex Padilla said the lake has already experienced detrimental impacts of climate change, including last year’s massive and deadly Caldor Fire and the ongoing drought. He said he and his Nevada counterparts are working together to prevent future natural disasters.

“Yes, climate change is real,” Padilla said. “Yes, climate change is happening, and we must double down on our efforts to combat the climate crisis.”

Padilla expressed support for the just-signed inflation reduction act, legislation he argues will protect Tahoe and the environment across the region. 

It will provide $370 billion in federal funds for renewable energy and carbon-cutting technology.

But Republican Congressman Tom McClintock, who has represented Elk Grove for several terms, said protecting this region comes down to one key thing.

“This ultimately is a forest management issue,” McClintock said. “This problem is not going to go away even if we all ride our bikes to work and substitute tofu for hamburgers.”

Newsom was in attendance days after releasing his own climate goals for the state, which include finding a pathway to 100% clean energy and achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.

“The fact that those things have not been done in California is rather extraordinary,” Newsom said. “A lot of interest groups want the status quo, but we cannot afford the status quo.”

Newsom said when returns to Sacramento, he’s going to work behind the scenes to ensure his climate goals make it into actual legislation. 

But he’s running out of time, as the deadline is Aug. 31.

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