Guv’s climate-focused task force delivers progress report

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Climate Change Task Force gave an update Friday on the state’s progress in reaching Lujan Grisham’s climate change goals in its second annual report. Those goals include reducing emissions, increasing renewable energy generation and decarbonizing the transportation sector.  

Lujan Grisham said her administration’s commitment to fighting climate change has only grown stronger this year, pointing to wildfire and drought conditions. 

“We are dead set against allowing climate change to bring about the next public health crisis,” she said in a statement. 

New Mexico produces more than twice the national average of greenhouse gas emissions per capita. Those high emissions are “largely the result of our greenhouse gas-intensive oil and gas industry, which makes up a significant portion of our overall greenhouse gas emissions profile,” the report said. 

Data in the report indicates that methane emissions continue to be a problem for the state. Source: New Mexico Climate Change Task Force

Nationally, methane accounts for just 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, but in New Mexico, it accounts for 35 percent. 

The report found that emissions generated from the oil and gas sector in the past few years have been greater than previously estimated, citing a recent peer-reviewed study from Colorado State University that analyzed emissions in New Mexico. The oil and gas sector generated 60 million metric tons (MMT) of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, which is nearly four times more than previously estimated based on national data, according to the study. 

The Task Force created nine interagency “Climate Action Teams” over the last year to tackle the state’s emissions problem and spearhead energy efficiency and sustainability work.

Governor adds New Mexico to climate pact states

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed up New Mexico to support the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement on Tuesday. In joining the U.S. Climate Alliance, Lujan Grisham is aligning New Mexico with other states working toward the accord’s goals after President Donald Trump pulled the country out of the international agreement in 2017. Signing an executive order at the state Capitol, Lujan Grisham said New Mexico aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. “I will join 19 other governors who are clear about making sure we do something about climate change irrespective of the failed policies and lack of science that is going on in our federal government today,” Lujan Grisham said. The order is a start, cheered by environmental groups as affirming a pivot from the policies of her predecessor, former Gov. Susana Martinez.