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NMSU climate change series to focus on statewide strategies in panel discussion Oct. 2

According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, average annual temperature across the Southwest United States increased 1.6 degrees between 1901 and 2016, and further increases are forecast for the future.


Head and shoulders of a woman
Sarah Cottrell Propst, Secretary of the State Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, will be one the panelists at the second event in the New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series. (Courtesy Photo)
Head and shoulders of a woman
Kelsey Rader, the City of Albuquerque’s first Sustainability Officer will be one the panelists at NMSUCCESS to speak on how Albuquerque plans to shrink its overall carbon footprint. (Courtesy Photo)

The second event this semester in the New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series (NMSUCCESS) is a panel discussion: “New Mexico at the Crossroads: How the State, its Biggest City, and NMSU are Addressing Climate Change.” The discussion will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

Panelists include Sarah Cottrell Propst, Cabinet Secretary for New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department; Kelsey Rader, the City of Albuquerque’s Sustainability Officer; and NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu, former Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“People worldwide have a shrinking amount of time to head off the worst effects of climate change, and this panel discussion will provide insights into the steps that state government and local leaders are taking to meet this challenge,” said Gary Roemer, NMSU Professor of Wildlife Ecology, and one of the series organizers.

Propst is expected to discuss a statewide climate strategy produced by a task force that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham assigned her to co-chair in late January.

“We know all too well states cannot rely on the federal government right now to act responsibly and take the bold action scientists have made clear is needed to prevent calamitous climate change fallout in our lifetimes. It’s up to us,” said Lujan Grisham when announcing the formation of the task force.

Albuquerque was one of 25 cities accepted into a two-year acceleration program to support the city’s effort to dramatically shrink its overall carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices. Rader, the city’s first-ever sustainability officer, will discuss steps Albuquerque is taking to achieve 100 percent use of renewable resources by city operations by 2022, make energy-efficient retrofits of municipal facilities, and shift its light-duty fleet to electric vehicles.

Arvizu will discuss plans, such as NMSU’s partnership with El Paso Electric to establish a three- megawatt solar array on the south side of the main campus that will provide research and educational opportunities in addition to generating renewable energy.

NMSUCCESS will continue the series of climate change talks, which began last year, through the fall and into spring 2020. Future topics will include geo-engineering, mass extinction threats, national and global security concerns and public health impacts. The series’ goal is to shine light on research and issues related to climate change for a local audience.