Climate Change in Santa Fe
The Greenhouse Effect
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are essential to life on Earth. They provide a "blanket" in our atmosphere, trapping heat and regulating the Earth's temperature. However, when we burn fossil fuels to power our homes, businesses, and vehicles, we increase the level of GHGs in the atmosphere, creating a much thicker "blanket" that disrupts the Earth's climate.
The result is more intense droughts, heat waves, and an increase in the severity and frequency of wildfires, which we are already experiencing. Since 1970, the average summer temperature in New Mexico has increased by 3.3°F (Climate Central). Climate projections show that our future will be hotter and drier.
The top 2,000 climate scientists in the world have said our window for action is closing.
Climate Change in Santa Fe
What Does "Carbon Neutral" Mean?
The City of Santa Fe has adopted a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2040. Put simply, carbon neutrality means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible or offsetting emissions through direct carbon sequestration through improved green spaces in the city or funding sequestration projects outside the city. The City of Santa Fe plans to reduce emissions in a variety of ways, such as using more renewable energy to power our buildings, reducing the amount of waste that we produce, and transitioning from gas-powered vehicles to electric ones.
Greenhouse gas emissions are partially driven by a city’s economic activity. When Santa Fe earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2020, the City was recognized for being a low carbon economy. Because of smart decisions from business owners, residents, and visitors, we’ve been able to grow our economy while preventing emissions from increasing – a positive trend to continue on our journey to zero emissions.
Greenhouse Gas Inventories
This dashboard includes data from both Community GHG Inventories and Municipal GHG Inventories. Community Inventories are city-wide and include all people, vehicles, and buildings. Municipal Inventories are specific to city government buildings and functions. The City's most recent inventory is a Community Inventory and used v. 1.2 of the U.S. Community Protocol, a national standard for local governments.
In the report, check out the Letter from the Mayor, showing how the City of Santa Fe is leading by example. Other topics include grid electricity mix, ICLEI Climate mitigation milestones, inventory methodology, inventory results, and next steps. Based on the report, the areas that have the greatest potential for emissions reduction include on-road transportation, community electricity use, community stationary fuels use, and solid waste.