UnderGovernor Bill Richardson, former Secretary of Energy, New Mexico has been on a path toward changing its energy use patterns toward something far more sustainable and far less damaging to the environment than what is the general US trend at this time.
In 2004, Executive Order No. 2004-019 declared the State of New Mexico to be the “Clean Energy State” and established the Clean Energy Development Council;
Recognizing the profound implications that global warming and climate variation could have on the economy, environment and quality of life in the Southwest, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed Executive Order 05-033 on June 5th, 2005 (note pdf), establishing the New Mexico Climate Change Action Council and the New Mexico Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG).the New Mexico Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG).
Exec Order 05-033, the "Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Executive Order", began;
WHEREAS, scientific consensus is that the global climate is warming at rates that could cause significant temperature increases and weather pattern disruptions across the globe.
The following "WHEREAS" statements laid out the scientific consensus, the global implications, brought these global implications to New Mexico area and linked them to business and economic concerns, and tied this to the lives of 'everyday' New Mexicans. In other words, Governor Richardson (and his staff) made a conscious and clear effort to link the global challenges to the daily realities of today's and tomorrow's citizens.
The act mandated much and has had results, including a study on The Potential Effects of Climate Change on New Mexico (warning, PDF).
EO 05-033 set the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals to meet year 2000 levels by 2012, 10 percent below 2000 levels by 2020 and 75 percent below 2000 levels by 2050.
Other states, such as Arizona and California, have set up climate change study teams as was done in EO 05-033. In many ways, the West is leading the nation on these issues. The Western Governors Association has had much of its focus on energy issues (and, obviously, therefore related to Global Warming). (See, for example, Clean Energy, A Strong Economy, and a Healthy Environment (pdf).)
Western Governors are supporting policies to bring on-line 30,000 megawatts of new clean energy by 2015, increase energy efficiency 20 percent by 2020 and provide adequate transmission for the region.
Earlier in 2006, New Mexico became the first state to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, a greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading program.
Thus, the EO 2006-69, Climate Change Executive Order (pdf) signed the 28th doesn't exactly come out of the blue ... this is part of both a regional focus and, more specifically, Governor Richardson's focus on turning New Mexico toward a path more likely to achieve a better future for his citizens (and the world).
EXECUTIVE ORDER 2006-69, NEW MEXICO CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION, begins:
WHEREAS, the federal government has failed to take sufficient action to address global climate change through initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States ..
Well, few other than Inhofe could disagree with this ...
The Governor’s executive order creates a state government implementation team tasked with ensuring policies from the order are carried out. Those policies include:
• Creating a market-based greenhouse gas emissions registry and reduction program
• Advancing carbon capture and sequestration technology’
• Promoting the use of manure from the dairy industry in power generation
• Developing an education and outreach program on green buildings for those private sector builders
• Creating new procurement rules that ensure state government offices have energy efficient appliances
• Mandating that state vehicles use mainly clean, renewable fuels
• Proposes a one-time tax credit of up to 40 percent for the purchase, construction or retrofitting of alternative fuel filling stations.
the impact of implementing these recommendations is expected to result in net savings of $2 billion to our state’s economy while reducing the equivalent of 267 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through the year 2020;
To be honest, there is much here that looks tremendous. I regret that I do not know more about what Governor Richardson is doing in New Mexico. I plan to learn more because what I read since learning this new executive order is heartening -- even exciting. For example, through reading this act, I learned that Richardson has required all government departments to follow US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and "established the Public Schools Clean Energy Task Force" earlier this year. In other words, there looks to be much going on in New Mexico that merits closer attention ... that is much that is going on that deserves attention for learning lessons to export to other states and localities around the nation ... and eventually to the Federal level.
Other states and other governors are taking concrete steps on energy and pollution issues ... but Governor Richardson and New Mexico might just be in the lead.
In the week that the Americans turned their attention from the odd lack of snow outside their homes to drowning polar bears, one of the nation's political leaders took concrete actions that could help save the species from extinction (or, at least, from being only able to survive in well-funded zoos).
- Governor Richardson attended Yearly Kos 2006 and participated in the Energize America panel, making some very thoughtful (positive, questioning, some politely (but helpful) critical) comments to the four of us who presented and are among the core EA2020 team.
- Join DailyKos Environmentalists.