Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Moving to electric vehicles is the way to go, »Albuquerque Journal


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How cool would it be to run your car on solar or wind power? It may sound like a myth, but electric vehicles (EVs) powered by New Mexico’s electrical grid are getting cleaner every day as our state continues the transition to carbon-free electricity from renewable resources. Even today, electric vehicles in New Mexico produce three times less pollution than the average gasoline car.

According to the recently released New Mexico Climate Strategy report, statewide emissions have exploded at a 50% increase since 2005, and traffic recently outpaced the electricity sector as the second largest source of global warming in our state’s economy. Unfortunately, we are not alone in our emissions hog, leading to the amazing effects of climate change that are becoming more visible every year.

The temperature in New Mexico has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 45 years. That might not sound like a lot, but the aftermath is that Santa Fe feels more like Albuquerque and Albuquerque feels more like Las Cruces. Climate change is destabilizing our natural areas, and the signs are all around us.

The Elephant Butte Reservoir is almost empty at only 11% capacity, and irrigation in the central Rio Grande was suspended for a month last fall and this spring due to poor river flow.

Our monsoon season is becoming less reliable. Snow packs less and melts earlier, which reduces our already scarce water supplies.

Almost 90% of the state is in a severe to exceptional drought. Agencies expect the Rio Grande in Albuquerque to dry out, which has not happened in over 30 years.

It affects our economy and our health.

Currently, New Mexicans emit 70% more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than the average American. The good news is that each of us can contribute to the solution by working to reduce our transportation emissions. Let me explain.

The goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions set out in the Energy Transition Act (ETA) of 2019 and signed by the governor require that an increasing proportion of light automobiles sold and used in New Mexico be electrically powered. Electric transportation is one of the most powerful climate tools in New Mexico. Research shows that by making a change, New Mexicans could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 88% by 2050.

We are not asking you to buy a new or used car tomorrow. We ask you to consider a plug-in electric vehicle the next time you buy a vehicle.

Here are some suggestions on how to think global and act local to reduce air pollution in your community and help protect our health and the environment.

• Encourage your local city, town, or county government to convert their fleet to electric vehicles.

• Support of local transport and their conversion to electric buses.

• Business owners can begin converting to electric vehicles on their regular replacement schedule.

• Local businesses may consider installing an electric vehicle charging station.

• Support the bicycle infrastructure in cities, towns and districts or the pedestrian zone to get people out of their cars.

• Get an electric bike to run local errands.

• Support the nationwide standards for clean cars.

There are plenty of other ways to reduce emissions so get creative. We must work together to protect the health of our communities and the health of our future.

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