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Friday, November 11, 2011


From the New Mexico Environmental Law Center and New Energy Economy: 

Measures to Reduce Carbon Pollution Will Address Threats for Public Health, Drought and Wildfires

New Energy Economy yesterday filed expert testimony with the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) that highlights growing threats posed by increasing rates of carbon pollution to New Mexico’s public health and economy. 

“We’ve heard a lot from industries about the costs of reducing pollution, but they never acknowledge that their corporate profits are obtained at the expense of our health and well-being.  PNM profits because it does not have to pay for the damage they cause to our health and the environment,” said Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy. “Asthma rates are rising and the historic drought and wild fires we see now have enormous costs and will continue to rise as climatic change intensifies. We must address this clear and present danger with policies to reduce carbon pollution.”

The expert testimony filed yesterday includes Dr. Robert A. Goldstein, former Chair of the Division of Pulmonary Disease at Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, provided testimony on the negative health impacts of coal pollution. The largest sources of carbon pollution in New Mexico are PNM’s coal-fired power plants. And testimony from Dr. David Gutzler, a well-respected climate scientist and professor at the University of New Mexico, provided testimony on the scientific consensus that increasingly severe climate change is being caused by rising levels of carbon pollution.

Highlights from Dr. Goldstein’s testimony include:
•    One in four New Mexico high school students has asthma.
•    Direct health care costs for asthma in the US total more than US $11.5 billion annually.
•    Health effects linked to coal combustion emissions damage the respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems and contribute to four of the top five leading causes of death in the US: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases.

Highlights from Dr. Gutzler’s testimony include:
•    Adverse effects of climate change include increased frequency and severity of drought, less snowpack and streamflow, and more heat waves.

Bruce Frederick, staff attorney with the New Mexico Law Center, said “Last year, the EIB said climate change is expected to result in large economic costs, which for New Mexico, are estimated at $3.2 billion per year, or $3,430 per household in 2020, rising to $5,410 per household in 2040. The costs will only rise the longer we wait to act.”

Frederick added: “We’ll also present the very recent confirmation by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project that confirms the fact that surface temperatures have increased significantly over the last 100 years. BEST is a group of scientists, including Professor Richard A. Muller from U.C. Berkeley, who were partially funded by the Koch Brothers, climate change skeptics.”

New Energy Economy and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center led a two-year public process that led to the creation of New Mexico’s landmark carbon pollution reduction law. The rule requires facilities that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon pollution per year to reduce these emissions by 3 percent per year from 2010 levels starting in 2013.



November 11, 2011 at 05:08 PM in Climate, Energy, Environment | Permalink


Great report.

It is well past time when polluters pay for the cost of their pollution. Not only is this fair, but it would make cost comparisons of energy generation through the use of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources representative of the actual costs to society.

Posted by: Paul Stokes | Nov 14, 2011 8:26:43 AM