First Coal, Oil, Gas-Producing State to Cut Global Warming Pollution

SANTA FE, NM (June 9, 2005) -- Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) today announced his plan for reducing global warming pollution in New Mexico. Gov. Richardson joins a growing number of state and local officials and businesses in cutting global warming pollution and investing in clean energy technologies, standing in stark contrast to the inaction in Washington on the issue. New Mexico is the first major coal, oil and gas producing state to set targets for cutting global warming emissions.

"Governor Richardson is joining a growing movement of U.S. political and corporate leaders who are ready to take action on global warming, even if the White House is not," said Tom Singer of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "It's good for New Mexico's economy, for our health and for our environment."

The plan calls for cutting New Mexico global warming pollution to 2000 levels by 2012; then ten percent below 2000 levels by 2020; and finally seventy-five percent below 2000 levels by 2050.

Global warming is caused by heat-trapping pollution -- mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil -- that is accumulating in the atmosphere like a blanket, raising temperatures all over the world. New Mexico is particularly susceptible to drought and resulting water issues from global warming. The New Mexico Environment Department predicts a forty percent decrease in Colorado River Basin water resources by the end of the century, greater water loss due to evaporation, and more extreme weather events like storms and droughts from global warming.

New Mexico is an energy producing state, with the energy industry contributing well over a billion dollars a year in state government revenues. Gov. Richardson has been pushing for investment in cleaner energy technologies like wind and solar, and has set a goal of ten percent of all electricity coming from renewable sources by 2010.

"With Governor Richardson's vision on global warming, New Mexico can continue to be an energy leader and help protect our valuable and fragile water resources," said Singer. "The real opportunity here lies in boosting New Mexico's economy by investing in clean energy technologies and using energy more efficiently."

New Mexico is joining a growing tide of political and business leaders who are taking action on global warming in the absence of real policy coming from Washington.

Just last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) announced his global warming action plan. Nine states from Maine to Delaware have come together to cut their global warming pollution, and a similar agreement has been forged with the governors of California, Oregon and Washington State.

Last month, General Electric, the world's second largest company, announced it would cut its global warming pollution and make huge investments in clean energy technologies. GE also joined many other energy companies, including Cinergy, Exelon and Duke Power, in asking Congress to set national targets to reduce global warming emissions.

The Bush Administration has no policy for cutting global warming pollution and Congress has yet to pass a bill setting enforceable limits. New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman (D) has been active in promoting global warming solutions, and is expected to introduce legislation on the issue soon. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) have already introduced a bill, the Climate Stewardship Act, which missed passage last fall by six votes.