Let's ensure New Mexico remains a leader in addressing human induced climate change!

What: Come speak at the Environment Improvement Board Hearing for 3 minutes on why New Mexico should not repeal the cap on greenhouse gas emissions for the largest power plants 

When: Tuesday and Wednesday (tonight and tomorrow), December 6th & 7th, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Where: PERA Building,1120 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, Apodaca Hall

All of our voices are needed to show how much we the people care about this matter. 

The Climate Change Change Leadership Institute's founder and executive director Robb Hirsch gave the following opening remarks at the hearing:

The Climate Change Leadership Institute’s Testimony

before the Environment Improvement Board (EIB) on 12/5/11

  1. The choice before the EIB at this hearing – of whether or not to repeal New Mexico’s modest and nascent greenhouse gas emission standards and carbon controls on large-scale industrial power plants in the state – is one of common sense, responsibility and courage. This decision should transcend special interest politics, partisanship and crony capitalism and go to the very heart and content of New Mexico’s character as a people.
  2. When the Framework Convention on Climate Change was set in motion after the Rio Summit in 1992 the reasonable goal was to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases to 10% below 1990 levels by the year 2000. Not only have we failed to meet that worthy early goal we have far increased our emissions since that time – to levels that are seriously endangering our civilization. Both our leading political parties have been to blame: the coal state democrats have acted as haphazardly and provincially as the Tea Party Republicans are acting now on this issue; even President Clinton shares much blame: his administration failed to act during that decade of extraordinary peace and prosperity; his administration only made it voluntary to reduce emissions and guess what? No one meaningfully volunteered. His highest profile economic advisors including treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, advised strongly against greenhouse gas regulation in America saying it would crush economic growth and halt prosperity. But meanwhile these “financial experts” were busy deregulating: deregulating derivitives, deregulating energy (remember ENRON), deregulating Glass-
    Steagall and ultimately they set the stage for the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. This goes to show that deregulating – like petitioners want to do with the carbon cap – is not the way to generate long term, sustained economic growth and in fact deregulation more often than not causes much more economic harm than good. Un-checked Human induced Climate Change will systematically destroy our economy (the infrastructure damage and restoration costs alone will be unbearable).
  3. Both political parties, subsequent administrations, economic advisors and congresses have majorly dropped the ball: the status quo of accelerating greenhouse gas emissions has continued unchanged and human induced climate change – one of the most vital and serious challenges in our history – has gone completely unsolved: We are witnessing over the last 2 decades a complete lapse of national leadership, a failure to govern and an abject inability to solve pressing problems at the national level (in large part this is because of a corrupted system of influence peddling by  crony capitalists and cowardly politicians who do their bidding rather than the bidding of the people); so in this back-drop any leadership must start with direct action by our people and any problem solving must happen at state level to fill the national void {which is exactly what this modest ghg regulation in New Mexico does is provide some elementary leadership and problem solving in the absence of any} {President Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers would applaud us here as he said “every generation needs a new revolution” (this is our clean energy revolution), as he preferred state over federal authority, and as he wrote to Madison in 1789 “No generation can contract debts greater that may be paid during the course of its existence.” We as consumers and power plant owners as the generators are contracting debts in the form of massive greenhouse gas pollution and collectively we are not paying for it}. 
  4. Let’s not forget what is in the best interest of our economy: competition, creativity, efficiency, stability, transparency. Not externality. The power plant owners – those who are wanting to do away with this reasonable EIB rule – are externalizing the cost of their power plants and they are wanting all of us, the public at large – to pay for their power plant emissions of greenhouse gases – pay for the droughts, wildfires and extreme weather that they cause, pay for the acid rain they produce, pay for the water quality impacts of their coal ash ponds, pay for the asma and cancer their fossil fuel energy plants cause – they are wanting us all to pay the costs of their pollution AND THIS IS NOT MORALLY RIGHT NOR IS IT ECONOMICALLY EFFICIENT. And this begs the point how can we trust PNM and other utilities in this case if they are fighting tooth and nail not only to overturn the modest cap on carbon dioxide emissions but they are also fighting the EPA to get out of complying with modern clean air and water standards of one of the worst polluting coal plants in the nation – San Juan Power Plant. Again they are externalizing the true costs of their power production by making us pay in the form of public health and environmental degradation the pollution costs instead of them.  
  5. In conclusion –  There are 2 questions that I want all of us and especially the EIB to consider and the power plant owners to answer:
  • Firstly, now that we know that human induced climate change is happening in large part by the burning of fossil fuels and the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (and we can ask all the national academies of science, over 97% of the world’s leading scientists for definitive scientific proof), how can we possibly in our right minds not do everything in the world to reduce the harmful impact of our energy production and consumption? Like slavery in our economy, power plant pollution of the climate, of the air and of the water is wrong and not soon enough but at least as soon as possible we must do away with it as a Nation, as a civilization or else how on Earth can we possibly live with ourselves?
  • Secondly, how can we not honestly and eagerly transition away from the dirty fuels when there are economically cost effective alternatives in place, already available right now – I encourage everyone to read Reinveting Fire by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute because he clearly and plainly lays out how we can presently transition from coal and oil in a way that is most economically efficient and empowering.  

I would like - indeed the state neeeds - a genuine, most sincere answer to those 2 intertwined questions. But I submit to you that there really is no morally or economically sound answer. The EIB should in their right mind reject this outlandish petition and preserve a modest cap on carbon/ghg emissions, petitioners must internalize the dirty impacts of their power production and transform themselves, and the judicial system should hold them all to it. If so this could lead to a new era of collaboration where both sides in this case put aside differences and work together to innovate and lead the way forward to a responsible & successful future.  If not, if crony capitalism and political cowardice prevail in this case, then it is incumbent on we the people to act and boldly act we will to ensure the health, prosperity, security & well being of New Mexicans & our Land of Enchantment.

 

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