Currently, New Mexico averages 20 days a year classified as dangerous – a number expected to climb to almost 40 days per year by 2050, according to Climate Central. (orange31/Pixabay)

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By Roz Brown, Public News Service

November 5, 2021   

SANTA FE, N.M. — The acceleration of global warming from fossil-fuel production, along with drought and wildfires, have been top-of-mind for New Mexico residents attending this week’s climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Rep. Debbie Sariñana, D-Albuquerque, who is attending the summit, said mitigating the emission of greenhouse-gas methane from fossil-fuel development is key, but added the state’s record heat contributing to water shortages has emphasized the climate crisis is getting worse.

“In New Mexico, I think, we’re doing a lot,” Sariñana acknowledge. “We’re doing a lot of things in the right direction, especially with energy. But whenever we have these huge things that shut down our cities or states because of water or drought we have to look at it as real and something we have to work for”

Sariñana believes President Joe Biden should declare a national emergency on climate change and wants Congressional leaders to support his Build Back Better agenda to cut carbon pollution. She added New Mexico has a unique challenge in addressing global warming because state revenues are heavily dependent on the fossil-fuel industry.

Sariñana noted the state’s plentiful sun and wind resources could advance renewable-energy options to battle climate change, but improvements to local infrastructure are needed. The retired high school math teacher emphasized in her experience, too many kids do not understand the seriousness of climate change, even though they are the ones who will need to find solutions

“The ones who understand it get a little scared, but they don’t still believe it’s real,” Sariñana observed. “We’ve got to do something about it as a country, as a world – we’ve got to make sure Biden sees it as an emergency.”

Build Back Better would cut carbon pollution in half by 2030 and invest more than $500 billion to curb climate change. New Mexico already has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 45% by 2030 as compared with 2005 levels.

References:  COP26 conference United Nations 2021
Build Back Better framework White House 10/28/2021
Executive Order Office of the Governor 01/29/2019
N.M. climate information Climate Central 2021