Climate Change Legislation in New Mexico

Mixed results form this session


While Covid-19 is the most prominent issue on people’s minds right now, climate change is just as serious a problem. Human emissions of greenhouse gases are slowly destroying the environment, one glacier at a time. While there is no single fix to this issue, three new bills seeking to address concerns about climate change have been working their way through the New Mexico legislature. If enacted, HB 9, SB 83, and SB 112 would address economic consequences and public awareness of climate change. SB 112 has passed both the House and the Senate, but the other two bills will not pass this session.

HB 9, the Climate Solutions Act is the most crucial bill of the three and has the potential to make great strides towards combating climate change in New Mexico. If this bill was passed, it would create a Climate Leadership Council made up of secretaries of all state cabinet departments under the leadership of the Secretary of Energy. The council would develop and begin implementing various climate-focused changes such as developing a sustainable economy, creating greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements, supporting all climate solutions, and discussing how to prioritize spendings funded by the Clean Energy Grants Fund, a fund for the development of different climate friendly technologies and the spread of them.

SB 83, the Local Choice Energy bill, controls the electricity markets and gives communities the ability to choose where their energy comes from. With the ability to choose, people are able to select more climate friendly choices. For example, renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydropower. Being given this choice also spreads awareness on the issue and people are more likely to try to be informed in order to make the correct decisions.

Finally, SB 112, Sustainable Economy Task Force, combats the reliance on fossil fuels and tries to build towards an economy not sustained by oil and gas extraction. Each year, the task force, composed of representatives from various departments, will develop a strategic plan to sustain the economy for the following year. With the reliance on oil and gas extraction gone, New Mexico gets rid of one of the biggest obstacles in the way of solving this problem.

All three bills are huge steps towards our final goal of solving climate change. New Mexico is setting a great example for other states in their efforts to solve our climate crisis even during a pandemic. This has been a consistent effort with bills like SB 489, the energy transition act passed last year and the most recent being these three, only one of which has passed. New Mexico will lead the charge towards a countrywide effort to solve this massive problem of climate change.