November 14, 2022

Governor touts federal, state efforts to combat climate change at COP 27

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham praised the passage of the federal Inflation Reduction Act during a speech she gave at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP 27, on Monday.

She said the investments that the Inflation Reduction Act makes, such as incentives for clean energy development, are a game changer.

“The issues for other states or regional coalitions have been there’s not enough money to invest, we don’t have the right incentives for the private sector and so it’s really easy to stay on that merry-go-round and never get off,” she said.

The Inflation Reduction Act is just one piece of federal legislation that has increased investments in climate.

She said last year’s infrastructure package provided New Mexico alone with $700 million largely for climate-related work. She said this allows the state “to be incredibly aggressive and innovative.”

She said the private sector is going to want to pursue opportunities, which removes what she called a political agenda from the equation because “the investment strategies transcend that.”

“Under the Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. is going to be making the most significant climate investments in our nation’s history,” Casey Katims, the executive director of the U.S. Climate Alliance, said.

Katims outlined some of the things that Lujan Grisham has pushed for as governor such as increasing the number of electric vehicles, conserving land, setting in place a goal to reach zero emission electricity, modernizing the grid and working to limit methane emissions from oil and gas.

Katims said that the Inflation Reduction Act, which is often considered a federal bill, is a state climate bill in many ways. He said that means state leadership is important to its implementation.

“We’re the second largest oil and gas producer in the United States,” Lujan Grisham said about New Mexico. “So we’re in a very interesting juxtaposition.”

She said New Mexico is working to decarbonize across various sectors including agriculture and transportation.

The White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said New Mexico has been a leader in finding ways to combat climate change. He gave the example of the state’s efforts to plug oil wells.

“When we were working on the bipartisan infrastructure law, the president literally said, ‘call Gov. Lujan Grisham and her team. They’re the ones that are capping all the wells. We’ve got to figure out how to do that nationwide. Let’s go learn from there.”

He said the federal government is never done learning from New Mexico, highlighting the proposed methane rule that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released last week. 

Zaidi said it was built off of lessons learned from New Mexico’s program.