(Santa Fe, NM – Sept 11, 2023) New Mexico is falling far short of its climate goals and will achieve less than one-third of the 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 committed to by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham via a 2019 executive order, according to a new analysis from the Environmental Defense Fund.
EDF’s analysis reveals that New Mexico is projected to reduce its statewide emissions 1% by 2025 and 13% by 2030 from 2005 levels, far short of its 2025 and 2030 goals, unless the state leaders act quickly to adopt comprehensive policies that set an enforceable limit on climate pollution and allow New Mexico to take full advantage of federal climate and clean energy funding.
“Communities across the state are suffering the impacts of drought, air pollution and wildfire and feel the mounting and undeniable pressures from climate change,” said Alex DeGolia, Director for U.S. Climate at EDF. “New Mexicans can see clearly how fundamental aspects of their culture and identity are threatened, and they want their elected leaders to act. We look forward to working with state leaders to accomplish our shared goals.”
To evaluate New Mexico’s progress toward meeting its climate goals, EDF conducted an analysis of projected emissions through 2030. The analysis used historic and projected state-level greenhouse gas emissions data from Rhodium Group’s U.S. Climate Service and replaced Rhodium’s methane estimates for New Mexico’s oil & gas sector based on a separate EDF analysis using site-level measurements and peer reviewed methods.
Key findings include:
- New Mexico is projected to reduce emissions approximately 1% by 2025 and 13% by 2030 from 2005 levels (compared to an initial commitment to reduce emissions by at least 45% by 2030, and subsequent US Climate Alliance commitments of at least a 26% reduction by 2025 and a 50% reduction by 2030), meaning the state is on track to reduce emissions by less than one-third of what is necessary to meet 2030 commitments made by Gov. Lujan Grisham. These findings echo what the state’s Climate Strategy report found in 2021: New Mexico is projected to fall short of its own commitments absent swift, strong action to limit pollution.
- Current policies are not reducing overall emissions in a persistent manner, leaving the state projected to emit 21% more climate pollution over the course of the decade than if it were steadily reducing emissions in line with the latest science. This overshot results in an excess of 167 million metric tons of climate pollution.
- By pairing comprehensive state action with historic federal investments from the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that drive down costs and accelerate the deployment of clean technologies, New Mexico leaders have an unprecedented — and time-limited — opportunity to meet the state’s climate goals.
With only seven years until 2030, the state must jump-start policies capable of reducing pollution immediately if it wants to have any chance of achieving its goals. EDF identified four key administrative and legislative actions to put New Mexico back on track to reduce emissions consistent with levels scientists believe necessary to avoid the most damaging impacts of climate change.
These policy actions include:
- Fully utilize existing authority to directly regulate carbon pollution from all of the state’s major sources and sectors.
- Increase capacity at relevant state agencies — most notably the New Mexico Environment Department and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department — to support a robust regulatory program designed to cut climate pollution at the pace and scale necessary to achieve the state’s targets.
- Pass comprehensive climate legislation requiring ongoing reductions in climate pollution that are quantifiable, enforceable and consistent with achieving the state’s climate commitments to ensure progress is durable.
- Establish a clear vision and resources to support a just transition to a clean energy economy for the state’s workers and communities.
“Reducing climate pollution is not only imperative to create a safer, more secure future, it is also essential to protecting public health, building economic prosperity and addressing environmental injustice,” said DeGolia. “By taking actions consistent with existing climate commitments, Governor Lujan Grisham and legislative leaders can improve health and economic prospects for New Mexicans who are harmed by both climate impacts and local air pollution, which we know disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color.”
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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund