New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman, D, was in Santa Fe today, listening to testimony about the impacts of climate change. During a field hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the senator heard what’s happening on the ground in New Mexico.
In his testimony, Governor Walter Dasheno of Santa Clara Pueblo pointed out that climate change contributed to last year’s Las Conchas fire. That fire burned more than 150,000 acres in the Jemez Mountains.
Climate change is a threat to New Mexico’s natural environment and a new study argues that makes it a serious economic threat as well.
Tourism, the creative arts, agriculture, ranching, and the dairy industry all stand to lose millions of dollars, according to Demos, the public policy group that published “New Mexico’s Rising Economic Risks from Climate Change.” The report is authored by Robert Repetto, author of the 2011 book, "America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward." He is a senior fellow in the United Nations Foundation’s climate and energy program.
About an hour north of Albuquerque, the Jemez Mountains are popular with hikers, fly fishermen, and pretty much anyone else looking for a mountain escape. The mountains have also been grazed, logged, and recently, hit hard by wildfire—Cerro Grande in 2000 and Las Conchas in 2011.