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New Mexico At a Crossroads: False Solutions or Just Transition?

Report By Ennedith Lopez, Basav Sen, Taneya Garcia, Emily Li, Alyssa Garza for the Institute For Policy Studies.


As the fight to transition off fossil fuels and into clean, renewable energy gains momentum, communities and their advocates face several challenges.

These include a fossil fuel industry still lobbying to hold back renewables, promote dirty energy, or else peddling false, “greenwashed” solutions that allow it to continue profiting from pollution. They include the challenge of cleaning up the harmful health and environmental legacy of fossil fuels, as well as the need to ensure that renewable energy sources are owned by, and affordable for, the communities who rely on them.

The state of New Mexico encapsulates all these trends and more. As a poor, climate-vulnerable state as well as a leading fossil fuel producer, New Mexico has made important strides toward an energy transition in recent years. Indigenous and frontline communities in New Mexico have articulated a clear vision of a just transition away from a polluting, extractive economy, and are working to implement their vision. But enormous challenges remain.

This report focuses on the future of renewable energy in New Mexico and how the state could lead on a just transition — and even offer a blueprint for other parts of the country. It also highlights the cost of the use of fossil fuels for New Mexican communities, particularly low-wealth and Indigenous communities.

This report draws upon publicly available information as well as interviews with community organizers and researchers in New Mexico and elsewhere to make the case for centering community-led solutions to the climate and energy crisis.

A summary is available here. For more depth, including extensive background and quotes from our interviews with experts and on-the-ground organizers, you can read the full version.


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