New Mexico's Rising Economic Risks From Climate Change

New Mexico's Rising Economic Risks From Climate Change

July 26, 2012
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New Mexico’s current political leadership is undoing state and regional policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even as the risks posed by global warming to the state’s economy and population become more evident.[1] Experts foresee even more difficult problems in the future unless steps are taken to stabilize the climate. Some of the challenges New Mexico faces include:

Water Supply and Economic Impacts

  • Most regions of New Mexico already face severe water constraints. Climate change impacts will further deplete the state’s water supply and extreme droughts will become more frequent.[2]
  • The cost of climate change is rising rapidly, doubling between 2020 and 2040 to $3.3 billion per year.[3]
  • The minimum economic impact of climate change on the agriculture and ranching sectors is a loss of $73 million annually by 2020.
  • Hot, dry conditions will continue to produce devastating forest fires.

Environmental and Health Impacts

  • Annual temperatures have risen throughout the state nearly two degrees F since 1976. Average temperatures are projected to increase five to seven degrees F over the course of this century. [4]
  • Three of the five highest causes of terminal illness and death in New Mexico will be exacerbated by climate change: heart disease, stroke and chronic lower respiratory disease. [5]
  • The impacts of climate change on public health will result in thriving illnesses and disease, plummeting physical well-being, and soaring health care costs.

If climate change continues unabated, these threats will not only be realized, they will be aggravated. New Mexico’s business and political leaders should therefore implement policies that have been developed within the state to mitigate climate change and its effects. It should also continue to encourage the growth of the state’s renewable energy industry and utilize the tremendous potential of its wind and solar resources. The leadership should support cost-effective policies within the Southwest region and for the nation as a whole to bring about a rapid and sustained reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

If climate change continues unabated, these threats will not only be realized, they will be aggravated. New Mexico’s business and political leaders should therefore implement policies that have been developed within the state to mitigate climate change and its effects. It should also continue to encourage the growth of the state’s renewable energy industry and utilize the tremendous potential of its wind and solar resources. The leadership should support cost-effective policies within the Southwest region and for the nation as a whole to bring about a rapid and sustained reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

If climate change continues unabated, these threats will not only be realized, they will be aggravated. New Mexico’s business and political leaders should therefore implement policies that have been developed within the state to mitigate climate change and its effects. It should also continue to encourage the growth of the state’s renewable energy industry and utilize the tremendous potential of its wind and solar resources. The leadership should support cost-effective policies within the Southwest region and for the nation as a whole to bring about a rapid and sustained reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.


[1] Susan Montoya Bryan, “NM Regulators Repeal Carbon Cap and Trade rules,”  Associated Press, February 7th, 2012

http://news.yahoo.com/nm-regulators-repeal-carbon-cap-trade-rules-142914....

[2] Andrew W. Ellis, G.B. Goodrich, G.M. Garfin, “A Hydro-Climatic Index for Examining Patterns of Drought in the Colorado River Basin”, International Journal of Climatology. 2009.

[3] ECONorthwest.Institute for a Sustainable Environment, U. of Oregon, “An Overview of Potential Economic Costs to New Mexico of a Business-As-Usual Approach to Climate Change;” Feb, 2009 .

http://www.econw.com/media/ap_files/CC5-Economic-Costs-of-Climate-Change....

[4] Carolyn Enquist & Frank Gori, “Implications of Recent Climate Change on Conservation Priorities in New Mexico,” Nature Conservancy, April 2008.

[5] BG Anderson, “Weather-Related Mortality: How Heat, Cold and Heat Waves Affect Mortality in the US, Epidemiology, Vol 20(2). 2009.