from the NEW MEXICO NEWS CONNECTION - A statewide news service for New Mexico
Santa Fe - A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council finds the costs of inaction on climate change are already being racked up in New Mexico and across the Southwest, especially when it comes to water resources and energy costs. New Mexico and other Southwestern states are racking up a huge tab when it comes to the costs from climate change. The report has come out just as the state gears up for the peak of a wildfire season that got an early start, despite a wet winter. Ann Watkins is a special assistant to the state engineer - she says more fires are just the beginning, "We have a number of smaller water systems which will be really impacted. Ecosystem issues are going to be just tremendous, forest fires we've already seen." The report predicts the total cost on water resources nationwide could be nearly a trillion dollars, with much of the cost concentrated in the Southwest and Southeast. Watkins says the changing climate will also cost the state a bundle for more energy to power cooling systems.
Consuelo Bokum with 1000 Friends of New Mexico says that when it comes to water, New Mexico already had problems. Bokum says "Even without climate change, the West and New Mexico in particular is facing problems associated with water availability and water scarcity. And has climate change accelerates, those problems are only going to increase drastically." Bokum says the report points out that climate change will also hurt agriculture. She says action needs to be taken now to avoid serious financial and social consequences. Te report is available at http://nrdc.org