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New Report Details How Climate Change Threatens New Mexico's Economy

SANTA FE— A new report released today reveals how New Mexico’s economy is at risk for serious damage as the climate change crisis grows graver. New Mexico, the report explains, is particularly vulnerable to water shortages and increased forest fires due to the impacts from climate change.

The report, “New Mexico’s Rising Economic Risks from Climate Change,” is from the nonpartisan public policy organization Dēmos. It lays out how New Mexicans’ health, economy, and environment are already suffering from the effects of climate change and how prolonged inaction will guarantee dire consequences in the coming decades.

>>>Read "New Mexico's Rising Economic Risks from Climate Change" Here

“New Mexico’s Rising Economic Risks from Climate Change” warns that the state faces, in the coming years:

  • Continued hot, dry conditions that will continue to produce devastating forest fires.
  • Further depletion of the state’s water supply and increased frequency of extreme droughts.
  • A loss of $73 million annually by 2020 to the agricultural and ranching sectors
  • Major health crises, including heart disease, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory disease.

The report is authored by Robert Repetto, author of the 2011 book, America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward. He is a Senior Fellow in the United Nations Foundation’s climate and energy program. In his report, Repetto finds that the cost of responding to climate change is rising rapidly and will double between 2020 and 2040 to $3.3 billion per year.

A serious commitment to combating climate change is the only way to spare New Mexico’s state economy and natural environment the painful fate that’s beginning to be played out now

“A serious commitment to combating climate change is the only way to spare New Mexico’s state economy and natural environment the painful fate that’s beginning to be played out now,” explained Dr. Mijin Cha, Senior Policy Analyst at Dēmos. “When policies are being drafted, leaders must consider the real long-term environmental and economic impacts our decisions will have and seriously think about what we are doing to protect the common good.”

“New Mexicans went through a long public process in order to pass groundbreaking greenhouse gas (GHG) rules that would have made the state a leader in the United States on this issue,” said Michael Jensen, Communications Director for Amigos Bravos, a statewide river conservation organization.  “Governor Martinez’ administration and her political appointees immediately struck down those new rules, leaving the door open for continued damage to the environment and public health from mercury, arsenic, particulate matter, and other air and water contaminants.  These all have a real cost to New Mexico’s economy”.

“Many of the people we represent live near the worst polluters and have few resources with which to address impacts of climate change,” says Douglas Meiklejohn, New Mexico Environmental Law Center Executive Director. “In addition, many New Mexicans depend on subsistence agriculture and are today feeling the effects of the current drought and high temperatures. This is why we have worked for four years on regulations aimed at reducing New Mexico's greenhouse-gas emissions. The Dēmos report confirms what we and our partners have known: New Mexico’s communities, cultures, natural resources and economy are severely threatened by climate change. New Mexico must act now to address this problem.”