FROM THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham today announced the release of the 2021 Climate Strategy report, detailing the state’s significant progress in implementing policies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change already being felt in New Mexico.
“New Mexico is leading the nation in innovative and impactful solutions that will dramatically decrease our state’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “But I am clear: there is more to be done to fight climate change and make sure New Mexico is prepared for its future impacts. This administration is fully committed to that work, today and in the years to come.”
Among the state’s achievements in 2021 are:
- The implementation of nationally leading natural gas waste rules, which require 98% gas capture by 2026 in the oil and gas sector;
- Gov. Lujan Grisham’s signing of Executive Order 2021-052 to conserve at least 30% of all lands in New Mexico by 2030;
- Doubling the number of renewable energy leases on state trust lands;
- The completion of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s Grid Modernization Roadmap, which lays out a detailed path toward a reliable and resilient electrical grid;
- The installation of over 2,100 solar projects in 2021 in nearly every New Mexico county through the Solar Market Development Tax Credit, saving customers an average of $1,400 annually and employing hundreds of solar technicians;
- Allocating $7.3 million in Volkswagen settlement funding for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel-fueled vehicles;
- Formally adopting the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code, which will make new homes and commercial buildings 20-30% more energy efficient than under the previous state code from 2009;
- Release of the Interstate Stream Commission’s Leap Ahead Analysis, a critical step in developing the state’s 50-year water plan which will be released later this year; and
- The development of Equity Principals in collaboration with stakeholders around the state, which will guide all of the state’s climate work.
Several vital tasks outlined in the report have already been completed in 2022, including:
- Adopting low-emission and zero-emission rules (also known as “clean car rules”) for vehicles;
- Adopting ozone precursor rules that will reduce approximately 425,000 tons of methane – a potent greenhouse gas –and 130,000 tons of other harmful emissions from the oil and gas industry; and
- Convening a Technical Advisory Group of New Mexico industry, environmental, government, and policy experts to identify policies and practices that ensure the state is on track to meet the state’s goal of at least 45% reductions by 2030.
The report also highlights some of the work that still lies ahead for the state in 2022, including:
- Creating a comprehensive statewide 5-year climate action plan for New Mexico, using the input of the Technical Advisory Group and the goals identified by the Climate Change Task Force, which will rest on the foundation of equity and environmental justice;
- Completion of the General Services Department’s State Buildings Green Energy Project, which will improve energy efficiency at 30 state government buildings, reducing energy bills and cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
“Under Governor Lujan Grisham Administration’s leadership, the state has launched unprecedented administrative and legislative action to address the biggest challenge of our generation: climate change,” said Demis Foster, Executive Director of Conservation Voters New Mexico. “We applaud the progress made over the past three years to address and cut climate pollution from the transportation, oil and gas, and energy sector, and invest in clean energy like wind and solar. This progress has made New Mexico a national leader on climate action, and a model for other states. The hard work we’ve put in has laid a strong foundation to move the state forward on the road to a zero-emission economy by 2050.”
“Our strong government-wide approach to climate action and our progress to date is attracting international attention,” said Sarah Cottrell Propst, Cabinet Secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. “New Mexico has made significant climate progress, but in many ways the hard work is ahead of us. This report is an inspiring reminder that we all have a role to play in mitigating the causes and impacts of climate change.”
“Leading the nation in climate goals and industry standards alone does not reverse the impacts that climate change is having on New Mexico. After a year when most of our state experienced severe drought, we must recognize the urgency of the moment and act with every tool available to us in order to further reduce emissions,” said Environment Secretary James Kenney. “This is the decisive decade for addressing climate change and every day we need to take increasing action towards achieving our goals.”
To better inform the public about the work of the Task Force and foster public engagement, the cross-agency website has also been updated for ease-of-use. The full 2021 Climate Change Task Force report is available at www.climateaction.nm.gov/.
In 2021, New Mexico’s climate leadership was featured on the international stage at the United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. New Mexico’s progress in establishing natural gas waste rules and an ozone precursor rule, mitigating wildfire risk, and reducing emissions in the transportation sector highlighted how subnational actions influence and drive national and international policy.
The Task Force was formed under Gov. Lujan Grisham’s Jan. 29, 2019 executive order and is co-chaired by the cabinet secretaries of the departments of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources and Environment. The order directed state agencies to develop a statewide climate strategy and incorporate climate mitigation and adaptation practices into agency programs and operations.