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New Mexico report shows progress in climate change efforts

October 31, 2020 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has made progress in reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to the effects of climate change, but work remains, state officials said.

A state climate change task force released its second annual climate report Friday, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Friday.

The state’s commitment to fighting climate change has grown stronger as the effects of climate change are “laid bare” with an extended fire season, severe drought and low water levels, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.

“We are dead set against allowing climate change to bring about the next public health crisis,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

The report outlined steps being implemented to curb greenhouse gas emissions and conserve energy including updated building codes that improve energy efficiency and save new homeowners up to $400 annually in energy costs.

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The initiative also includes $5.8 million in state investment for clean-energy and emissions-monitoring companies and job creation, and an estimated 1,346 megawatts of renewable energy expected between last year’s passage of the Energy Transition Act and the end of 2020.

The report also described future goals including state adoption of rules for low and zero emissions, hydrofluorocarbon cuts and further reduction in greenhouse gases and other pollution from the oil and gas industry.

An environmental group applauded the state’s effort but said loopholes must be closed in methane rules for the oil and gas industry.

“Oil and gas emissions are the largest source of climate pollution in the state,” said Jon Goldstein, Environmental Defense Fund director of regulatory and legislative affairs. “If the loopholes are not addressed, Gov. Lujan Grisham’s administration will fall short of their ambitious and needed targets.”