YUCCA'S 2023 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
WATCH THE CLIMATE JUSTICE & ENERGY DEMOCRACY CONVERGENCE NOW!
Legislative Session Panel
For this year's convergence - we are glad to be highlighting priority policy proposals for
the 2023 Legislative Session and applying the energy justice scorecard analysis as a
frame for the discussion in the first panel. We had Thomas Joseph joining us from
the Indigenous Environmental Network to raise critical issues around carbon markets,
carbon offsets, and the 2050 "net-zero" timeframe in anticipation of the carbon
emissions bill being introduced this session. Last year we pushed for amendments on
the HB6 carbon bill - and this year some of those amendments have been incorporated
- but we still want to lift up concerns and continue to push for real carbon solutions and
an end to false solutions that prop up the fossil-fuel industry and are being included in
bills against our best interest.
Building Power Panel
The second panel addressed critical issues in our
movement as billions of dollars come down from the federal government through the
Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure bill and New Mexico prepares to
take advantage of historic investments in energy infrastructure and climate solutions.
The question of who owns, controls, benefits from, is potentially harmed by, and
ultimately has the power to determine what happens with these investments and how
the transition occurs matters a lot! We talked about the difference between
corporate top-down solutions and solutions developed and driven by the community.
We also talked about accountability - by the industry and by the government agencies
that is failing to regulate the industry and are making many promises of emissions
reductions while simultaneously facilitating greater and greater levels of extraction and
pollution in the Permian and Chaco regions of our state.
YUCCA'S ENERGY JUSTICE SCORECARD
The 2023 New Mexico Legislative Session is here, Youth United For Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) is ready to make this one of the most successful sessions for climate legislation thus far. Guided by our founding demands, which were hand-delivered to Governor Lujan Grisham’s desk in 2019, we’ve spent the past two months, since late October 2022, meeting with key lawmakers and crafting our 2023 legislative agenda. This session, we have implemented a new tool called the “Energy Justice Scorecard” developed by the Initiative for Energy Justice. Using this scorecard, we can score each piece of climate legislation out of 25, with 0/25 being the lowest possible score and a score of 25 being closest to the “perfect energy-just” policy. A score of 25 means that the policy fully meets the requirement of the energy justice indicator, while a score of 16 or below means that the policy does not sufficiently meet the requirements laid out in each question of the indicator.
Energy Justice Scorecard Questions:
Have marginalized communities participated meaningfully in the policymaking process with sufficient support?
Does the policy aim to remedy prior and present harms faced by communities negatively impacted by the energy system?
Does the policy center the decision-making of marginalized communities?
Does the policy center economic, social, or health benefits for marginalized communities?
“Does the policy make energy more accessible and affordable to marginalized communities?”
We’re hoping the guidance offered by this scorecard can help lawmakers prevent a situation similar to what happened during the last legislative session with House Bill 6 - the Clean Futures Act. While HB6 may have included some important aspects like emissions reduction standards - it also included dangerous false solutions that left loopholes for polluters - false solutions like Carbon Capture, Sequestration, and Offsets. Which are not only rooted in unproven technologies that are unscalable to the magnitude we need to mitigate the climate crisis - but buy time for the fossil fuel companies to continue business as usual until the very last second.
Climate solutions like Hydrogen Production, Cap and Trade, Carbon Pricing, and Capture and Sequestration have all been labeled greenwashed false solutions by YUCCA. Why? Because all of these climate solutions are being sold as viable ways to mitigate the climate crisis when in reality, these technologies are largely unproven and drastically increase our dependency on fossil fuels while allowing polluters to continue business-as-usual operations for the next 25 years - but we don’t have that kind of time to waste. Blue hydrogen production, like what was proposed last session, is 60% more carbon intensive than burning coal or natural gases for the same purposes - and worst of all, relies heavily on methane extraction - a greenhouse gas at least 80% more potent than CO2 when it comes to trapping heat in our atmosphere. Green hydrogen, which is being proposed across the country, is heavily reliant on water - a resource New Mexico can’t afford to spare while our state is in the midst of a megadrought. Cap and Trade, and Carbon Pricing are market-based mechanisms that might sound good on paper, but in reality - they open the door for polluters to continue business as usual and pay their way past emissions reductions and penalties. Lastly, Carbon Capture and Sequestration, or CCS - relies heavily on unproven technologies to pull carbon out of our atmosphere and store it deep underground, but even if these technologies continue to improve, it’s highly unlikely that it’ll be scalable to the size we need to mitigate this crisis.
YUCCA ultimately convened a coalition of grassroots organizations that called for several key amendments to the Clean Futures Act, including moving up the timeline, removing false solutions like offsets from the bill, and including meaningful participation from impacted communities at every step along the decision-making process. While only two of our amendments ending up in the final draft, the bill ultimately never made it out of committee. After meeting with Secretary Propst and her team from the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resouces Department, we’re excited to see some of our amendments codified into the draft of their 2023 climate bill, but we must continue to push for more. Next, Mexico has some of the highest untapped potentials for renewable energy anywhere in the country - we’re not lacking the solutions and technologies to become the renewable energy Capitol of the country by 2030 - we’re lacking the political willpower to look beyond the profits of the fossil fuel industry and hold them accountable for the crisis they have created.
By using the energy justice scorecard, we hope to champion policies that center on proven solutions supported by BIPOC communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction - not false solutions being proposed by the allies of the extractive industry to greenwash and derail a rapid transition towards a 100% green and renewable economy.
We’re excited that the 2023 Legislative Session might finally be our time to make significant progress on climate legislation in New Mexico. This session, we’ll be pushing for legislation that establishes a Just Transition Fund from Oil and Gas revenues, meaningful emission reduction standards, and the cleanup and restoration of communities that have historically been wronged by the extractive industry. We’ll also be showing up to oppose the introduction or development of any false solutions here in New Mexico - greenwashed facades like hydrogen - that have no place in New Mexico’s transition.
YUCCA's 2023 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES ARE
YUCCA's Policy Platform is based on our belief that we must quickly move forward policies that: