Sponsored by Representative Liz Thomson and Senator Liz Stefanics

Download this fact sheet (updated Jan. 2023; 1 page; pdf)
Download a previous version of this fact sheet (Nov. 2022; 2 pages; pdf)

The health and well-being of New Mexicans is increasingly at risk because of climate change. We must take action to protect our communities from its ever-worsening effects.

The Issue

The health of New Mexicans is increasingly being harmed by climate change, and the rate of its associated extreme weather events, such as rising heat, drought and flooding – along with wildfires – are becoming more frequent and more fierce. These hazards impact physical and mental health in many ways, including increased rates of heat stress, insect-borne diseases, lung and heart disease, and allergies, which can lead to challenges such as financial and food insecurity and a deterioration in overall well-being. New Mexico’s children, communities of color, older adults, people with disabilities, and families earning low incomes are most likely to suffer serious, long-term health consequences from these climate impacts.

By the Numbers

  • New Mexico now has an average of 50 more days of extreme wildfire risk conditions (hot, dry, windy) than in 1970.[1]
  • New Mexico saw an 18% increase in respiratory emergency room visits during the wildfire season, compared to previous years.[2]
  • The number of emergency room visits for heat-related illness in New Mexico more than doubled between 2009 and 2019.[3]

The Solution

We need to protect all New Mexicans from threats to our health caused by extreme weather events related to climate change, which are causing harm today and will be more frequent and intense in the future. This Act will help address these threats to public health by:

  • Creating a Public Health and Climate Resiliency Program at the Department of Health to build capacity and expertise, support development and implementation of response systems, and improve interagency collaboration.
  • Establishing a Public Health and Climate Resiliency Fund to assist and enable local and tribal communities to adapt to climate change and respond to public health emergencies from extreme weather events.

These two approaches, combined with meaningful engagement with the communities most harmed by climate change, will help improve health outcomes, equity, climate adaptation, and climate resiliency in New Mexico.

Pass the Public Health and Climate Resiliency Act (HB 42)!*

*The Public Health and Climate Resiliency Act (HB 42) is endorsed by: 350 New Mexico, American Lung Association,  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NM, Climate Advocates Voces Unidas (CAVU), Center for Health Innovation, Chronic Disease Prevention Council, Conservation Voters NM, Health Action NM, Interfaith Power and Light, Moms Clean Air Force – EcoMadres, National Association of Social Workers – NM, Natural Resources Defense Council, NM Alliance of Health Councils, NM Environmental Public Health Network, NM Hospital Association, NM Pediatric Society, NMVC Action Fund, NM Voices for Children, Open New Doors, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, ProgressNow NM, Retake Our Democracy, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, and Western Environmental Law Center.

[1] “Fire Weather: Heat, dryness, and wind are driving wildfires in the Western U.S.,” Climate Central, Aug. 25, 2021
[2] Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, New Mexico Department of Health
[3] National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed Oct. 21, 2022, from www.cdc.gov/ephtracking