Power Plants are New Mexico’s Largest Source of Global Warming Pollution

Media Releases

Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – On the heels of another summer of drought and wildfires, a new report from Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center finds that power plants are New Mexico’s single largest source of carbon pollution. Scientists predict that extreme weather events will become more frequent and severe for future generations, unless we cut the dangerous carbon pollution fueling the problem.

“America’s dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming,” said Dominick Lawton, Field Associate for Environment New Mexico. “If we want a cleaner, safer future for our kids, we can’t afford to ignore power plants’ overwhelming contribution to global warming. For New Mexico, tackling the problem means cleaning up the dirtiest power plants.”

The report, titled, ‘America’s Dirtiest Power Plants,’ comes as the Obama administration readies a new set of rules to tackle global warming. It illustrates the scale of carbon pollution from New Mexico’s power sector and ranks New Mexico’s biggest carbon polluters.

Key findings from the report include:

  • America’s power plants are its single largest source of carbon pollution – responsible for 40 percent of emissions nationwide.
  • Four Corners Power Plant, outside Farmington, New Mexico, is the 15th most carbon-polluting power plant in the nation.
  • New Mexico’s power plants produce as much carbon each year as six million cars.

“With events like droughts and wildfires becoming more frequent and severe, New Mexico is already feeling the impacts of global warming,” said Zachary Sharp, a Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico. “Things will only get worse for us and our children if we fail to take swift and bold action now.”

This summer, President Obama directed his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, the largest single source of carbon pollution. In a major step, the EPA is expected to propose an updated rule for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants on September 20. New Mexicans have already submitted nearly 29,000 public comments in support of limiting carbon pollution from power plants.

Environment New Mexico thanked state leaders like Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Luján for supporting limits on power plants’ carbon pollution. “New Mexico can’t afford to wait to act on climate, so it’s critical that our leaders step up and support action,” said Lawton.