Solar energy, electric vehicles touted in N.M. climate change report

More electric vehicles, solar power and clean energy job-training programs are a few of the recommendations in a first report issued Thursday (Nov. 21) by the Climate Change Task Force.

The task force is a state interagency group formed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to recommend steps for addressing climate change and helping communities adapt to the impacts. The recommendations are aimed at achieving the governor's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, vehicles fossil fuel production and agriculture by 45 percent in the next decade.

In a statement, the governor said she wants concrete proposals "to reduce air pollution, boost energy efficiency standards and help strategize for a sustainable future.

“I share New Mexicans’ expectation of substantive leadership on climate action, and this initial series of recommendations underscores my administration’s unwavering commitment to addressing the causes and effects of climate change,” she said in the statement.

The New Mexico Climate Strategy report is written for the general public and steers clear of a lot of technical data backing up the recommendations.

One of the most difficult tasks for the state – how to wean its budget off dependence on oil and gas revenues – is lightly touched on in the report with recommendations leaning toward increased training and education to shift workers into clean energy jobs and apprenticeships. New Mexico gets nearly one-third of its general fund from oil and gas revenues.

But doing nothing to address climate change and help communities to adapt to the worst impacts also isn't an option, according to the task force.

The report notes that four state agencies have conducted risk assessments associated with climate change. Drought, flash floods, extreme heat and land subsidence are the four natural hazards expected to increase, according to an assessment by the state's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

One environmental group says the report is a good first step that acknowledges there is a lot to do to reach the state's ambitious greenhouse gas emissions goals.

“These recommendations by the task force will help New Mexico take important steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the targets set by scientific consensus, in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change,” said Maria Nájera, Western Resource Advocates’ government affairs director in a press statement.

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