Drawdown Projects in New Mexico

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350 New Mexico Drawdown Project Summary and Highlights

Last team update Aug 21, 2019, Materials updated June 3, 2020

Recommendations and Next Steps for NM are mostly still in development. Numbered items are cross-references to the solution in Project Drawdown - the book.

Overall Project Goal

“Create an overall drawdown vision for NM - to be carbon neutral by pursuing Drawdown – Keep It In The Ground, a Just transition over 20 years to 100% CRE, electrify everything including EV transport, no methane use (replace home & space heating), sustainable agriculture, etc.

Team members have been assigned Sectors from the Drawdown Project to research items listed within each, with a focus on the top few (higher ranked), to find those applicable to New Mexico. Research should identify recommended actions, any organizations of agencies to work with and who to communicate with. Some summary findings follow, much taken from the Drawdown project.”

Drawdown Top 40 and Possible NM Priorities

During 2019, an initial pass at the top 40 Drawdown Solutions that New Mexico should focus on where presented in the following two tables.



Electricity Generation – Damian

Residential Solar

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) proposal is an option for financing residential solar. County would pay for the up-front capital cost of panels, rather than having to take out a loan. County provides zero% financing, pay it back via you property tax bill, 15-25-year amortization. Cost of panels does not increase your property tax assessment. 

Legislation is required. Details need researching. See NM EMNRD/ECMD docs:

"Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Bond Financing"
“ECMD teamed with the New Mexico Association of Counties (NMAC) to help develop standards, model ordinances, and guidelines in order to help New Mexico’s counties implement Property Assessment Clean Energy Bond (PACE) financing. PACE financing is an innovative approach to spreading out the costs of energy improvements over a long period. This has the effect of greatly reducing the up-front costs of renewable energy while more closely matching the costs of an energy improvement with the provided benefit on a year to year basis. PACE programs have been implemented across the country and new programs are being formed rapidly.”

ECMD = Energy Conservation and Management Division [The division has several Clean Energy Program Managers – RJC]

Damian continues to study implementation by county.

Landfill Methane

Thailand power generation application to be examined. Colorado uses landfill gas to heat a detention center. Works better if digester is built in from the start of landfill construction.

Food – Nancy

Main Article: NM Food Drawdown Opportunities

The top solutions for Food are;

  • Reduced food waste #3
  • Plant-Rich Diet #4
  • Silvopasture #9
  • Regenerative Agriculture #11
  • Conservation Agriculture #16
  • Tree Intercropping #17
  • Managed Grazing #19
  • Farmland Restoration #23
  • Multistrata Agroforestry #28
  • Farmland Irrigation #67

NM Farming stats have been found and are separately documented in another Google doc., e.g.

"Dairy Farms: just over 77 percent of the milk in New Mexico is produced on the eastern side of the state in Curry, Roosevelt, Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties. Milk and dairy products generated $1.3 billion in cash receipts."

NM could eat well and locally if at least 50% of farmers converted to raising food for humans rather than for cattle.

NM Agricultural Crops/Products:

  • Dairy
  • Cattle and calves
  • Pecans
  • Hay
  • Onions
  • Chili Peppers
  • Cotton
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Sorghum

and lots more info. is included. Other solutions include the use of seaweed (Asparagopsis taxiformis) in cattle and other livestock feed to reduce methane [burps]. Research needs to continue to see how this applies to NM – can we find a ranch owner to test this possibility?

Women and Girls – Dylan

Educating Women and Girls and the role of family planning and the effects of schooling have a big impact ~120 GT tho’ mostly in the Third World. Ideas include:

  • XPRIZE for teach-yourself software for kids
  • Education laptops
  • Micro loans

Building and Cities – Dylan

Drawdown solutions in this sector under Buildings include:

  • Building Automation #45
  • Green Roofs #73
  • Heat Pumps #42 – low cost options becoming available.
  • Insulation #31 – hard to compete with Nat Gas, – solar panels are cheaper than retrofitting insulation
  • LED Lighting (Commercial) #44
  • LED Lighting (Household) #33
  • Net Zero Buildings #79
  • Retrofitting #80
  • Smart Glass #61
  • Smart Thermostats #57
  • Solar Hot Water

Drawdown solutions in this sector under Cities include:

  • Bike Infrastructure #59
  • District Heating #27 – hard to compete with Nat Gas
  • Landfill Methane #58
  • Walkable Cities #54
  • Water Distribution #71

Potential NM Recommendations:

  • New Construction - No gas hookups in new homes, plus better insulation.
  • Solar Thermal Requirement for Multifamily
  • Encourage Downtown Growth (for Walkability)
  • Replace old failed gas furnaces with air source heat pumps

Land Use – unassigned

Transport – Tom


Per Drawdown, “Two thirds of the world’s oil consumption is used to fuel cars and trucks. Transport emissions are second only to electricity generation as a source of carbon dioxide, accounting for 23% of all emissions” globally. (p142). The EPA pegs transport at 28% of total GHG emissions in the US.

Drawdown divides Transport into the eleven categories of the most impactful solutions. Two do not especially apply to New Mexico, i.e. Airplanes and Ships. The others are in order of CO2 impact:

  • Electric Vehicles
  • Mass Transit
  • Trucks
  • Cars
  • Telepresence
  • High-speed Rail
  • Electric Bikes
  • Trains
  • Ridesharing

That leaves these nine solutions for NM, ranked by GT-CO2-eq (plausible) impact:

Rank Solution CO2-Eq GT reduction
26 Electric Vehicles 10.8
37 Mass Transit 6.57
40 Trucks 6.18
49 Cars 4
63 Telepresence 1.99
66 High-Speed Rail 1.52
69 Electric Bikes 0.96
74 Trains 0.52
75 Ridesharing 0.37

Electric Vehicles

  • EVs are powered by the grid or by distributed renewables. They are about 60% efficient compared to 15% efficient for gasoline powered vehicles which lose most of their energy to heat.
  • EV’s travel about 3.3miles on 1kWh of electricity.
  • CO2 emissions per gallon of gasoline are 25 lbs whereas emissions for 10kWh of electricity are 12.2 lbs on average (and dropping as the grid gets cleaner), a 50% reduction in CO2 if power comes from the grid. If power comes from solar, CO2 emissions fall by 95%.
  • Commercial operators, with depots easily retrofitted for charging purposes, are natural candidates for converting to all-electric trucks, vans, and cars. Thousands of electric buses and delivery trucks, including the USPS, UPS and FedEx roam the streets in near-constant use.
  • Charging stations cost about $3000-$7500 per port.

Some potential actions to take to accelerate EV adoption:

  • EV rebates and incentives - new legislation
  • Governments replace their fleet w EVs
  • Expand EV charging infrastructure -
  • EV public education campaign - promote http://chooseev.com/nm/
  • Convert public buses to EV
  • Mandate future freight trucks convert to EV
  • Convert school buses to EV
  • Convert USPS Mail trucks to EV
  • Convert UPS, FedEx, etc to EV

Mass Transit

Some potential actions to take to promote and reduce emissions from mass transit:

  • Convert Railrunner to electric power
  • Convert public buses to EV
  • Make it more convenient to use the bus


  • Trucks convey nearly 70% of all domestic freight tonnage in the US, over 8B tons annually.
  • In the US alone, trucks consume 50B gallons of diesel each year. Making up just over 4% of vehicles in the US and 9% of total mileage, they consume more than 25% of the fuel.
  • Worldwide, road freight is responsible for about 6% of all emissions, and it is increasing as global incomes rise.
  • Techniques for reducing freight truck emissions include, improving vehicles’ aerodynamics, installing anti-idling devices, upgrades that reduce rolling resistance, altering transmissions and integrating automatic cruise control devices. Also, avoiding legs with empty trailers.
  • But split incentives are an issue: when owners who would pay for efficiency upgrades do not cover fuel costs, they have little reason to adopt them.


  • Global light duty vehicle sales were 79M in 2018.
  • Hybridization is the most effective technology for increasing vehicle fuel efficiency, until we all convert to EV’s.

Some potential actions to take to reduce emissions from gasoline cars:

  • Mandate higher MPG & LEV/ZEV standards in NM ala Calif (MLG is pursuing this)
  • Tax the oil industry to pay for incentives to buy high MPG or EV cars
  • Increase the cost to register low mileage cars and trucks
  • Increase gasoline taxes
  • Pass Carbon fee and dividend - new legislation

Materials – Robert

(updated June 3, 2020)

Drawdown Solutions unique to Materials are:

  • Alternative Cement #36
  • Bioplastic #47
  • Household Recycling #55
  • Industrial Recycling #56
  • Recycled Paper #70
  • Refrigeration Management #1
  • Water Saving #46

Solutions that interact with Materials are:

  • Composting #60
  • Landfill Methane #58
  • Plant-rich Diet #4
  • Reduced Food Waste #3
  • Waste-to-Energy #68

Only two of the unique solutions to Materials are in the top 40.

Alternative Cement

Cement manufacture is 5-6% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The conversion of limestone to lime, CaCO3 to CaO generates CO2 with additional CO2 from burning fossil fuels in high temperature kilns.

Mexican owned Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC Rio Grande) operates a Cement Plant at Tijeres east of Albuquerque, less than a mile south of I40. From undated Google satellite images, it appears to have two rotary kilns. GCC also operates a Cement terminal in Los Cruces.

There is also the work on Solar Powered Cement Manufacture that sequesters carbon in either graphite or nanotube forms in this document. See:

"Solar thermal process produces cement with no carbon dioxide emissions" - Phys.org - Lisa Zyga - April 10, 2012

Different concrete formulations can reduce the amount of cement in their mixtures. Some recipes include increasing quantities of fly ash. This helps with the disposal of the accumulated fly ash from hopefully closed coal fired power stations.

Environmentally friendly concrete is discussed in Building Enclosure at:

"In Pursuit of Environmentally-Friendly Concrete" - Daniel Overby - August 2, 2019

where alternative mixes (recipes) are reviewed.

A number of technological innovations are being pursued to reduce CO2 emissions including curing precast concrete in 100% CO2 enclosures, kiln designs that capture the CO2 emissions separately from the fossil-fuel exhaust gases, and recipes based on steel-mill slag that has no limestone in the first place. See companies like Solidia Technologies, CarbonCure Technologies, Calix and Carbicrete.


This solution should address all the petro-sourced products used to support Western Civilization. The list is extensive but it’s all organic chemistry:

  • Plastics; sheet, bottles, dashboards, chairs, tables, electronics housings, pens, tubes, piping, household goods, packaging…
  • Lubricants & Detergents
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Food additives (livestock, human)
  • Synthetic textiles; polyesters, nylon, acrylics
  • Paints, sealants and coatings
  • Inks and dyes
  • Engineered plastics: nylon machine parts

Bio-sourced raw materials for these products raises the question of how and where they will be grown. Does the math of supply and demand make sense?

13% of oil and gas production is not combusted for energy but is estimated to go into the petrochemical industry.

Household & Industrial Recycling

These two topics are generally treated together in NM.

From the 2013-2017 Census there were 770,435 households in NM. While programs are often oriented around cities and counties, there is the New Mexico Recycling Coalition see https://www.recyclenewmexico.com/ where 90 businesses and local agencies are listed in their directory. See their 2016-2018 3 year strategic plan. 18 reports (under Resources) provide lots of factual information about recycling opportunities.

The New Mexico Environment Department also speaks to Recycling, Composting, and Diversion - Solid Waste Bureau

Recycled Paper

Paper is compostable too.

Refrigeration Management

A recent contact with air conditioning contractor in Santa Fe reported that now only 1 in 10 customers are ordering Evaporative Coolers while 9 in 10 are ordering Refrigerated Air Conditioners.

The big problem is end of life of A/C units and how those refrigerants are disposed of. Less problematic refrigerants from the GHG viewpoint are CO2, propane and ammonia.

Wikipedia lists hundreds of refrigerants (346) such as dichlorofluoromethane, 1,2-Dibromo-1-fluoroethane, methane, mixtures, ammonia, carbon dioxide. Data is available for the following attributes:

  • Type/Prefix
  • ASHRAE designated numbers
  • IUPAC chemical name
  • molecular formula
  • CAS registry number / Blend Name
  • Atmospheric Lifetime in years
  • Semi-Empirical Ozone depletion potential
  • net Global Warming Potential over a 100-year time horizon (GWP)
  • Occupational exposure limit/Permissible exposure limit in parts per million (volume per volume) over a time-weighted average (TWA) concentration for a normal eight-hour work day and a 40-hour work week
  • ASHRAE 34 Safety Group in Toxicity & Flammability (in Air @ 60 °C & 101.3 kPa) classing
  • Refrigerant Concentration Limit / Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health in parts per million (volume per volume) & grams per cubic meter
  • Molecular mass in Atomic mass units
  • Normal Boiling Point (or Bubble & Dew Points for the Zeotrope(400)-series)(or Normal Boiling Point & Azeotropic Temperature for the Azeotrope(500)-series) at 101,325 Pa (1 atmosphere) in degrees Celsius
  • Critical Temperature in degrees Celsius
  • Critical Pressure (absolute) in kiloPascals

Ammonia has a GWP of 0 (zero) while CO2 by definition has a GWP of 1. At the other end of the scale Hexafluoropropylene has a GWP of 17,340! Many substances have no value listed. Some are toxic, some are flammable – affecting their suitability of adoption. Methane is listed with a GWP of 28 – initially it’s a lot higher.

For an overview on the history and adoption of refrigerants in A/C units, this article from Goodman Air Conditioning and Heating is probably as good as any:

"The Refrigerant Story: From R-22 to R-410A"

A quote:

“Because of the global warming potential of many HFC refrigerants, the latest amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the Kigali Amendment, has proposed to phase-down the use of refrigerants such as R-410A.  The phase down is expected to begin sometime in the 2020’s.  The leading replacement for R-410A refrigerant is a pure, single component refrigerant called R-32, which has one-third the global warming potential of R410A.  Some products with this next generation refrigerant have already been introduced in the United States. Due to some properties of these lower global warming refrigerants, codes and standards are being updated before their mainstream use, which is expected in the early 2020’s.”

For info on the Montreal Protocol and the Kigali Amendment see:

"The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer" - US Dept. of State, Feb. 11, 2019

From the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) at:

"The Montreal Protocol evolves to fight climate change"

170 countries agreed to the Kigali Amendment.

"Kigali surpasses 50 mark with EU, Mexico ratifications" - October 28, 2018:
“Fifty-three signatories have now ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on phasing down HFCs worldwide, including the European Union (on 27 September) and Mexico (25 September).
The Kigali Amendment was adopted by 197 parties meeting in the Rwandan capital on 15 October 2016. The amendment sees developed countries take the lead on phasing down HFCs, starting with a 10% reduction in 2019 and delivering an 85% cut in 2036 (compared to a 2011-2013 baseline).
Kigali has already reached the threshold to enter into force, having been ratified by the required 20 parties at the end of 2017.”

While the amendment is declared in force with over 20 countries ratifying it, the USA has not ratified the amendment. For the Trump Administration position on why the USA has not ratified the amendment see the discussion at :

"What's Keeping Trump from Ratifying a Climate Treaty Even Republicans Support?" - Phil McKenna - Feb 12, 2029

The Future

Research is needed in developing low GWP refrigerants and the systems that can use them. As of September 2019, there’s not much evidence of this research in NM.

Water Saving

For a report on the City of Santa Fe's five-year conservation plan, what home owners can do and summer water restrictions, see:

It’s Water-Saving Season - Santa Fe Reporter - Leah Cantor - April 30, 2019

Coming Attractions – unassigned

The Coming Attractions part of Project Drawdown looks at future developments rather than what is well known now. Project Drawdown, the book, was published in 2017, in which so many of the 'promising ideas' listed in Coming Attractions need revisiting. Gray items are mostly not relevant to New Mexico.

Coming Attractions Contents

  • Repopulating the Mammoth Steppe
  • Pasture Cropping
  • Enhanced Weathering of Minerals
  • Marine Permaculture
  • Intensive Silvopasture
  • Artificial Leaf
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Solid-State Wave Energy
  • Living Buildings
  • On Care for Our Common Home - Pope Francis essay
  • Direct Air Capture
  • Hydrogen-Boron Fusion
  • Smart Highways
  • Hyperloop
  • Microbial Farming
  • Industrial Hemp
  • Perennial Crops
  • A Cow Walks onto a Beach - essay
  • Ocean Farming
  • Smart Grids
  • Building with Wood
  • Reciprocity - essay