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NM needs a strong clean energy plan

By September 1, 2015December 1st, 2022Juntos, Climate & Energy

By Vicente Garcia | Program Director, Juntos
Climate change is happening now – we see it in more extreme weather, increases in temperatures, drought, flooding and sea level rise in areas across the United States. These impacts are expected to get worse as carbon pollution in our atmosphere increases.
Earlier this month, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled the Clean Power Plan, which is one of the major steps the U.S. is taking to reduce our nation’s contribution to global climate change.
The Clean Power Plan cuts carbon pollution from the power sector that’s fueling climate change and that’s also responsible for a number of health problems that disproportionately affect communities of color.
Every state has the flexibility to implement the Clean Power Plan differently and Juntos, a partnership between Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund and League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, wants New Mexico’s plan to rely on clean energy sources like wind and solar that do not repeat New Mexico’s dirty energy legacy that has relied heavily on uranium mining and coal-fired power plants, damaging people’s health and community well-being.
According to the White House, in 2013, 29 million metric tons of carbon pollution were emitted from power plants in New Mexico, equal to the yearly pollution from over 6 million cars.
States are also encouraged to engage low-income and communities of color in the process of developing their plans and can receive incentives if they invest in energy efficiency and clean energy programs that directly benefit low-income neighborhoods.
This means that the foundation is there for our communities to take leadership and we need to make sure this happens by holding our state accountable.
Specifically in New Mexico, a 2014 survey by the Benenson Strategy Group showed that 84 percent of Latinos want utility companies to use more clean energy and 55 percent believe climate change is a severe threat that we must start addressing now.
That makes sense, especially when considering that the Clean Power Plan is projected to contribute significant pollution reductions, resulting in important benefits. The EPA projects that the plan will bring health benefits worth an estimated $34 billion to $54 billion per year in 2030.
Juntos has launched two simultaneous media campaigns in response to this unprecedented plan to encourage Latinos to urge Gov. Susana Martinez to develop a strong state implementation plan that invests in solar and wind energy, and energy efficiency. Through these campaigns, our goal is to elevate Latino voices within the conservation movement and create opportunities for people to get involved in the fight against climate change to protect our health, our families and future generations.
Individuals can get a sneak peek of the campaigns named, pa’ tu madre… tierra (for your mother…earth) and ilumínate (illuminate yourself) online.
The sooner we act to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, the more we can do to prevent the negative impacts that affect all Americans. We know that much work remains to be done to ensure that our state’s decision-makers act in the right way to successfully transition to clean energy, and leave future generations with clean air and water, but through continued community organizing, education and immediate action, we can build a better New Mexico that is rooted in clean energy.