Just Transition

Gabriel Pacyniak, Shannon Sanchez-Youngman*, Gabriel Sanchez

Developing inclusive, just solutions to climate change at the speed necessary to prevent catastrophic harms is one of the grand challenges of our time. Policy measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are well known, but policymakers in New Mexico and at the federal level are only beginning to grapple with how to ensure that this transition will be equitable for all people. The Just Transition Grand Challenge seeks to identify and evaluate the opportunities, challenges, and policy options for achieving this inclusive and equitable transition, with a focus on creating economic opportunities for members of disadvantaged communities—particularly Hispanic, Native, and Black communities and fossil fuel worker communities.

This Grand Challenge will bring together a diverse team from the disciplines of political science, population health, business, engineering, and law, as well as external community partners, to develop the foundation for an institute to be housed at UNM that can support the state of New Mexico in this important transition. Our work will build on prior and current research, including research on workforce development by UNM’s Center for Social Policy, research on equitable climate change mitigation policies from the School of Law, and research on sustainable infrastructure opportunities through the Sustainable Water Resources Grand Challenge, and will also make use of the infrastructure of the UNM Anderson School’s new Economic Development Center.

This community-centered project will also be driven by community engagement and policy development led by external partners, including the chair of the state’s Sustainable Economy Advisory Council.