I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
NM Republicans are cool on global warming, climate change legislation
Susana Martinez isn’t the only big-ticket candidate in New Mexico’s fall elections who questions whether human society is the root cause of global warming. The three Republicans running for Congress expressed opposition to climate change legislation and were generally hesitant to acknowledge that human activity is having important negative effects on the planet.
Democrats, however, largely agree with the idea as well as the premise that such change will have negative consequences for the planet and its inhabitants. This difference between the two parties has remained consistent since the 1990’s when the issue first emerged as a global concern, and is one reason that the United States is one of the very few nations that hasn’t signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which is a global effort to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
The Independent asked the congressional candidates the following question:
Do you believe that human-caused global warming exists? If so, how do you propose reducing the amount of carbon that enters the atmosphere. If not, please explain why you do not believe it exists.
The replies answered our question with varying degrees of specificity, but the general trend is a party line split. Republicans object to the view that global warming is a problem that warrants a change in human behavior. Democrats agree there is a problem, but have varying ideas on the degree to which action should be taken. Where the competitors were most closely aligned was in the southern New Mexico race between Harry Teague and Steve Pearce.
We’ve provided their entire answers below.
Tom Mullins, Republican candidate for Congressional District 3:
No. Carbon is organic and carbon is the basis of all life. Our federal government is attempting to regulate not just the breath we exhale, but is also infringing upon our very livelihood. Affordable energy is a critical component of New Mexico’s economic development. The residence of CO2 in the troposphere is about 5 years, rather than the 50 to 200 years assumed by many regulators. The science is not settled regarding climate change, temperature records have been falsified, and the assumptions used in computer models have large degrees of error. I believe that politicians who advocate climate change taxes and regulations, merely want greater power and control of our daily lives. As a professional engineer, I will be a voice of scientific reason on this very emotional subject.
Steve Pearce, Republican candidate for Congressional District 2:
For the political purposes of your question, do I feel that humans are having a huge impact on global temperatures that require a panicked flight from the energy that feeds, fuels and provides shelter for our society, no. Nor do I think the job killing cap and trade bill will have any effect on carbon output. It will serve to destroy jobs and cripple our economy. I have long advocated a comprehensive non-ideological energy policy. We should pursue domestic sources of energy including, oil, gas, nuclear, clean coal, solar and wind power. I would be in favor of pursing other alternative energy policies as well. The combination will develop our economy, lower our dependence on foreign oil and reduce the overall carbon out put of the United States. As for the science, there is a lot of conflicting data on the nature and impact of carbon output. I do know that we as a society need to do more to curb pollution and carbon output. Humankind can and should have a less harmful impact on our environment. I think that can be done responsibly without an extreme ideological agenda.
Jon Barela, Republican candidate for Congressional District 1:
As for global warming, the effect of activities of human beings on global temperatures does not justify the job-killing cap and trade bill that was supported by Martin Heinrich and passed by Congress last year. This legislation would amount to an additional energy tax on manufacturers and consumers, and it would further inhibit private sector job creation.
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, Democratic incumbent candidate for Congressional District 3:
Global warming is a problem that we must address so that we can protect our global environment for future generations. I have long been a proponent of renewable energy and alternative sources of energy–not only because of the environmental impact, but because we need to move away from our dependence on foreign oil.
I supported the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, which would help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide going in to the atmosphere. We must place an emphasis on reducing our carbon emissions, while moving toward a green energy economy that brings jobs here to New Mexico.
Rep. Harry Teague, Democratic incumbent candidate for Congressional District 2:
There’s a lot of argument about this subject, and I’m no scientist, so I’ve referred to the nation’s best, the National Academy of Sciences, who stated in June that climate change was a long-term challenge that Americans need to respond to. But regardless of climate change, we need a ‘Do it all, Do it in New Mexico’ energy policy that puts Americans to work and reduces our dangerous dependence on foreign sources of energy. A ‘Do it all, Do it in New Mexic’o approach to energy creates thousands of energy jobs in our state and cuts our nation’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil. I see no reason why southern New Mexico can’t be THE alternative energy leader of the United States.
Congressman Martin Heinrich, D-CD1, has not yet replied to our question. His views on global warming have been consistently aired, however, and are in line with the other Democratic positions. For example, at an Earth Day event in 2009, Heinrich said:
“As we celebrate Earth Day 2009, I am proud to stand with my fellow sportsmen and women, to lend additional support to the critical issue of climate change. This bipartisan group of wildlife and conservation leaders share my strong belief that we must do more to fight climate change and protect our planet for generations to come. I am deeply committed to protecting wildlife, capping carbon pollution, and investing in clean energy jobs.”