Climate change is one of the greatest economic challenges, and opportunities, of this century. We can deny that our climate is warming, and remain stuck behind our economic competitors in the developed – and increasingly, in the developing – world. Or we can move forward with a clean energy economy that will create jobs and protect the environment, with New Mexico leading the way.
We firmly believe that we must follow the latter path. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and turn our backs on the scientists who say we must take action now to reduce global warming pollution. We believe that ignoring climate change is not only dangerous for our health, it is disastrous for our economy.
Last week, we both voted against a highly politicized bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Rather than mandating the construction of oil pipelines for private foreign corporations, Congress should be focused on supporting domestic energy production that creates permanent American jobs.
First, let’s be clear. Climate change is real. New Mexico is at the eye of the storm, experiencing historic drought, severe flooding when it does rain and increasingly frequent wildfires. If we do nothing, it will get worse. According to a study at Los Alamos National Laboratory, by 2050 we may not have any forests left in our state. It will be as if New Mexico is dragged 300 miles to the South, to the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert.