New Mexicans are already experiencing the impacts of climate change — including extreme weather, prolonged drought, catastrophic fires and an economy that is rapidly shifting. Compounded by the impacts of the pandemic, New Mexico needs a bold vision and action to rebuild our economy and put our communities at the center of reimagining and building a more just, equitable and resilient future.

Driven by this urgency, we have introduced the Climate Solutions Act (House Bill 9). The bill puts forth a three-pronged approach to combating climate change by addressing New Mexico’s carbon footprint, supporting the resilience of our communities and putting our communities in the driver’s seat in determining their own economic futures — all through a lens of social and economic justice and equity.

To accomplish this vision, HB 9 establishes nation-leading targets for reducing carbon emissions, protecting New Mexico’s air and water, and accelerating a just transition to a more diversified and resilient economy. The first of its kind, this bill will help set New Mexico on a path to a net-zero carbon future and economic and workforce development opportunities rooted in the visions and values of our vast and diverse communities across the state

The myriad challenges that come with addressing climate change and its impacts do not affect all New Mexicans equally. Historically disadvantaged communities, already reeling from the impacts of the pandemic, are especially hit hard by economic and public health impacts. We must address climate pollution and provide tools and resources to have a chance of protecting and supporting communities already facing countless economic, health and environmental challenges.

The voices of these communities are also central to our clean energy future. The Climate Solutions Act charts a path to identify economic development and workforce opportunities in disproportionately impacted and historically disadvantaged communities, codifying their work while improving energy affordability, public health outcomes, and the protection of our agricultural and natural resources.

Building on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s climate leadership, the bill sets a goal of 50 percent reduction in carbon pollution from 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero carbon pollution by 2050. These goals are achieved through a Cabinet-level climate leadership council and promulgation of rules by state agencies and implementation of policies to reduce emissions. Importantly, this legislation sets these targets in statute, no matter who the governor is.

The Climate Solutions Act sets the foundation for the bold, long-term work New Mexico needs to do to make sure communities across the state have a seat at the table to determine what they need to succeed in a climate resilient future. It makes sure no community is left unheard as we work toward a more resilient future for all New Mexican families.

The science on climate change is clear. The time for action is now. We have to address climate change and build a more resilient economic future to leave a better, healthier and safer world for our children and grandchildren. New Mexico has an opportunity to be a leader in innovations that revolutionize our economy as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19. So, let’s get to work.

Rep. Melanie A. Stansbury and Rep. Angelica Rubio are Democrats serving in the state House of Representatives. Stansbury represents District 28, Bernalillo County, and Rubio, District 35 in Doña Ana County.

(3) comments

Dennis McQuillan

Thank you, Representatives Stansbury and Rubio, for co-sponsoring this pioneering legislation. There is overwhelming scientific consensus that human activities are causing warming of the Earth's climate https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/. In fact, NASA states, "Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by 47% since the Industrial Revolution began. This is the most important long-lived "forcing" of climate change." https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/. The visionary provisions of House Bill 9 would initiate the urgent and decisive actions that New Mexico, as a national and global citizen, must take to combat climate change.

Mike Johnson

Sorry, you two acting like scientists and telling us the climate is changing because of human CO2 emissions is just political science. You need to stick to what you know, politics, not what you hear from partisan hacks. Case in point. A recent interview about the Texas weather and other "extreme" weather brought his reaction from Dr. Gavin Schmidt, NASA's chief climate scientist: "People tend to say climate change causes more extreme weather events". Dr. Schmidt replies: "They do say that but it is not correct". Climate scientist Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, has a similar view. “Sometimes it’s just that the weather gods roll the dice, and that’s what you end up with,” Dessler said. He added that he doesn’t think there’s a single reason for this week’s event other than “that’s the way it worked out.” And of course for NM, studies going back to 1895 show that precipitation is INCREASING in NM, not decreasing. So stop spreading lies and exaggerations to promote your anti-business agendas.

Miles Conway

#HB9 is an important bill. Does the language on emissions reduction also take into account the CHG emitted by our exported of oil&gas? I believe that's the greatest threat, no?

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