New Mexico On Climate Change

This state spotlight reviews the steps New Mexico is making to combat climate change.

In late January, newly elected governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order that brings the state into the U.S. Climate Alliance, which means fully embracing the goals set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. The governor also ordered the creation of a New Mexico Climate Change Task Force, calling on all state agencies to contribute to a statewide climate strategy and incorporate climate mitigation and adaptation practices into their programs and operations.

“Today marks an important shift in direction on climate policy in New Mexico,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We know all too well states cannot rely on the federal government right now to act responsibly and take the bold action scientists have made clear is needed to prevent calamitous climate change fallout in our lifetimes. It’s up to us. And I have full confidence our commitments today will launch our state toward a robust transformation, with results delivered by each state agency to make a cohesive, effective whole.”

The secretaries of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) and Environment Department (NMED) will co-chair the climate task force, comprised of a secretary or designee from each state agency. The task force will provide strategic direction for achieving a statewide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality, and other measures that will protect New Mexico’s vital natural resources, align with the Paris goals and keep New Mexico within what researchers have described as the upper bound of irreversible CO2 emissions.

Those measures include adoption of approaches to reduce greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions from light-duty vehicles sold in New Mexico; adoption of a comprehensive market-based program that sets emission limits across New Mexico; adoption of new building codes; and the identification of transmission corridors needed to transport the state’s renewable electricity.

The task force will establish a list of initial recommendations and status updates to the governor no later than September 15, 2019. EMNRD and NMED, working with key stakeholders and legislators, will develop
and bring forward legislation to increase New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard and increase the state’s energy-efficiency standards for electric utilities. To read the executive order, please click here.