The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in New Mexico
Just in the past three years, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back at least 95 environmental rules and regulations to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health. Moreover, the administration refuses to act to mitigate the effects of climate change—instead loosening requirements for polluters emitting the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. This dangerous agenda is affecting the lives of Americans across all 50 states.
Between 2017 and 2019, New Mexico experienced one drought and two severe storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.
Impacts of climate change
- New Mexico faces one of the greatest threats from growing, widespread summer droughts as a result of climate change in the United States.
- 381,000 residents, or 18 percent of the state’s population, live in areas experiencing drought as of April 2019.
- By 2050, New Mexico is expected to see 23 more high wildfire-potential days, tying for the third-highest increase in the nation.
- More than 4 million New Mexican residents, or 70 percent of the state’s population, live in areas with an elevated risk of wildfires.
- In 2019, 859 wildfires burned 79,887 acres in New Mexico, ranking the state 10th in the country for the number of acres burned.
- New Mexico currently averages 20 days per year when heat exceeds dangerous levels, but projections indicate that number will double to 40 such days per year by 2050. This endangers the lives of the more than 80,000 people in New Mexico who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
- New Mexico is the sixth fastest-warming state in the country, with temperatures increasing by 7 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 45 years. Projections indicate that the state will experience another temperature rise of between 3.5 degrees and 8.5 degrees by 2100.
Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies
- In March 2020, the Trump administration announced its final rule to overturn Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars. These weakened fuel standards will lead to higher greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions and will cost New Mexico residents $215 million
- The Permian Basin—the largest oil- and gas-producing area in the United States, stretching across parts of New Mexico and Texas—was found to be emitting methane at three times the national rate. Methane is responsible for one-quarter of greenhouse gas-driven global warming. In August 2019, the Trump administration proposed rolling back methane limits at oil and gas operations like those in the Permian Basin.
- The Trump administration is attempting to gut climate considerations from major infrastructure projects by eliminating the “cumulative impact” requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is concerning because New Mexico’s economy relies heavily on its agriculture, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries—all of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
- Agriculture: Agriculture and food processing accounted for more than $10 billion of New Mexico’s gross state product and supported more than 50,000 jobs in 2012.
- Tourism: In 2018, tourism in New Mexico generated nearly $10 billion in economic impact and supported more than 94,000 jobs.
- Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in New Mexico generates 99,000 direct jobs and nearly $10 billion in consumer spending.
- Mercury emissions in New Mexico decreased by nearly 84 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions that are allowed from power plants.
To read the personal stories of Americans affected by climate change and the impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies in your state, visit OurEnvironment.org.