New Mexico governor picks climate denier Harrison Schmitt to run energy department

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"New Mexico governor picks climate denier Harrison Schmitt to run energy department"

New Mexico is facing a grim future — brutal heat waves, massive wildfires, permanent Dust Bowls — in a world of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions (see “U.S. southwest could see a 60-year drought like that of 12th century “” only hotter “” this century” and below).  Yet, as Brad Johnson reports:

New Mexico governor Susana Martinez (R-NM) has picked Harrison Schmitt, a prominent global warming denier to run the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. The 75-year-old Schmitt is a former geologist, astronaut, and U.S. Senator, defeated in 1982 after a single term by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). Schmitt believes that mainstream climate science is a conspiracy “to increase government control,” as he wrote in his resignation from the Planetary Society in 2008.

Equally bizarre, Schmitt has little evident energy experience — except in one area.  He is an adjunct professor of engineering physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but as his website there reveals, his expertise is in what may be the single most impractical idea ever proposed for generating energy on a significant scale for humanity in your lifetime (no matter what your age):

Professor Schmitt is a consultant engaged in research with the Fusion Technology Institute on the utilization of resources from space, including the feasibility of using helium-3 from the moon to supply energy on Earth.

It is famously said about fusion that it is 50 years away and always will be.  That goes double if we need to get the stuff to run the reactors from the moon!  The only thing harder to believe than planning to build a fusion economy around extracting helium-3 from the moon is listing that on your academic website as your primary consulting activity.

Let’s go back to Schmitt’s absurd resignation The Planetary Society (TPS).  As you can see in its innocuous if overly optimistic “Roadmap for Human Space Exploration in the 21st Century,” TPS lists as one of its recommendations, “There is an imperative to begin an aggressive campaign to understand global climate change and to address the challenges facing planet Earth.”

Just research, no action.  Pretty harmless stuff.  But Schmitt writes:

As a geologist, I love Earth observations. But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a “consensus” that humans are causing global warming in when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise. “Consensus”, as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the “global warming scare” is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society’s activities.

Aside from the fact that the leading earth scientists from around the world and every single member government agreed the year before that warming of the Earth’s climate is “unequivocal,” TPS didn’t actually “tie this objective to a ‘consensus’ that humans are causing global warming.”  Schmitt apparently only skimmed the document once he saw the offensive phrase.  Here is what TPS wrote:

Concurrent with the restructured initiative for international human space exploration, the United States must begin an aggressive campaign to understand global climate change and address the challenges facing planet Earth. Although it is not the subject of this document, broad consensus has emerged that Earth science research has been undervalued in the NASA portfolio in recent years and must be augmented, both in terms of budget and as an element of national space policy. It should be noted that, far from being separate in the human psyche, space exploration and Earth science represent an important synergy. Cultural awareness of Earth as a planet has been dramatically enhanced through observations and commentary by astronauts, and one of the iconic images of Earth from Apollo 8 – a “big blue marble” against the stark backdrop of outer space – is credited with having stimulated the environmental movement which continues to this day….

Pretty friggin’ alarmist.

Seriously, that’s the ‘consensus’ TPS was talking about “that Earth science research has been undervalued in the NASA portfolio in recent years and must be augmented.”  Extremists!

Schmitt is a hard-core denier, as this Santa Fe New Mexican article makes clear:

Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, one of the last men to walk on the moon and a former U.S. senator from New Mexico, doesn’t buy the idea that humans are causing global warming.

“I don’t think the human effect is significant compared to the natural effect,” he said.

Schmitt, who is among 70 skeptics scheduled speak at an international conference next month, admitted his beliefs fly in the face of the political consensus that burning fossil fuels has increased carbon-dioxide levels, temperatures and sea levels.

Memo to reporter:  It is a scientific understanding, not a “political consensus.”

In a Saturday interview, Schmitt expounded on what he called “indisputable facts” that global warming is the result of natural, rather than man-made, causes. He said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400 A.D., and the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise….

“In Antarctica, it looks like the total volume (of ice) is increasing and if that’s true, that’s probably why you’re getting increased ice moving away from the center of the continent and therefore these big icebergs and stuff are breaking off,” he said.

Although Greenland’s glaciers receded for decades, Schmitt said, they began advancing again around 2005.

Of course, this is all just non-stop nonsense.  Carbon dioxide is rising because of human emissions.  That is pretty much an undisputed fact.  Schmitt mixed up his denier talking points on this one (see Cook: “When someone mentions to you that CO2 lags temperature, remind them they’re actually invoking evidence for a positive feedback that further increases global warming by an extra 15 to 78%”).

The total volume of Antarctic ice has been declining.  Schmitt probably means Antarctic sea ice, but in that case he should get his denier talking points straight.  Same for Greenland, which has continued to see ice loss.  Again, Schmitt can’t quite get his talking points straight.

What is it about walking on the moon that makes people say such strange things about climate?  (see Sorry, Buzz Aldrin, we’re not sending people to Mars by 2029 to “homestead” or study “climate change”).

Sadly for New Mexico, climate denial and failure to adopt sensible low-carbon policies risks multiple catastrophic consequences, which could well combine to depopulate the state in the second half of the century.

In a terrific March 2010 presentation, climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe has a figure of what staying on the business as usual emissions path (A1F1 or 1000 ppm) would mean (derived from the NOAA-led report):

http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/US100f.gif

Half the state would be above 100F for longer than the entire summer.

Than we have this chart from the National Academy of Sciences 2010 report, Climate Stabilization Targets:  Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia:

Salt Lake wildfire

Percent increase (relative to 1950-2003) in median annual area burned for ecoprovinces of the West with a 1°C increase in global average temperature.

Yes, that is just from a 1°C warming (by mid-century).  We’re facing a lot more of that by century’s end if we listen to the likes of Kahn (see M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F “” with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F).9

On the bright side, while there might be a few hundred percent increase in median annual burn area — at least it’s only over the part of the state with trees!

Finally, back in 2007, Science (subs. req’d) published research that “predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” “” levels of aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas to California.  This year, the National Center for Atmospheric Research warned that by mid-century, New Mexico faces a drought index worse than that of the 1930s dust bowl [click to enlarge, details here]

drought map 3 2060-2069

The maps use a common measure, the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which assigns positive numbers when conditions are unusually wet for a particular region, and negative numbers when conditions are unusually dry. A reading of -4 or below is considered extreme drought”¦.”

The PDSI in the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl apparently spiked very briefly to -6, but otherwise rarely exceeded -3 for the decade (see here).  So the numbers projected by NCAR are beyond catastrophic for New Mexico by the 2060s.

See also two more studies discussed here:  “U.S. southwest could see a 60-year drought like that of 12th century “” only hotter “” this century.”

Finally, Brad Johnson notes:

Martinez has taken other steps to eliminate science-based government from her state. She nominated global warming denier Jon Barela, who lost his bid to unseat Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), to head the Department of Economic Development. Earlier last week, “Martinez removed all the members of the Environmental Improvement Board, citing the board’s approval of regional and state cap and trade statutes,” reports the New Mexico Independent. “Unfortunately, the majority of EIB members have made it clear that they are more interested in advancing political ideology than implementing common-sense policies that balance economic growth with responsible stewardship in New Mexico,” Martinez ironically claimed.

The future is grim indeed for New Mexico.

UPDATE:  New Energy Economy says “Martinez overstepped bounds in halting carbon reduction program“:

According to a New Mexico clean energy group, Gov. Susana Martinez overstepped her bounds in halting the carbon reduction program early last week. The Environment Department requested the regulations not be published in the state Register and the state Administrative Law Division complied. The regulation would have required three-percent annual cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from sources like power plants.

Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy, told The Independent on Friday that this is illegal. While Martinez froze all pending and proposed regulations with an executive order on her first day in office, Nanasi says this was not proposed but already passed by the Environmental Improvement Board.

“There’s a whole myriad of legal ways to go around doing this,” Nanasi told The Independent. “But she can’t just bully an official and say ‘don’t do your job.’”

One way to challenge the law would be in the courts, according to Nanasi.

“Is she afraid of the courts?” Nanasi asked of the former district attorney. “Why wouldn’t she go through the regular legal process?”

Nanasi says that New Energy Economy will file a mandamus to the state Supreme Court. If granted, this would force Martinez to publish the rules passed by the EIB last month.

According to the New Mexico Business Weekly, Attorney General Gary King is reviewing whether or not the process in which Martinez halted the rule is legal.

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26 Responses to New Mexico governor picks climate denier Harrison Schmitt to run energy department

  1. Richard L says:

    Considering the heatwave in Russia, the floods in Australia, I am wondering what is the potential for near term widespread crop shortages?

    Can someone make an estimate of what would happen if the Russian heat wave hit the US corn/wheat belt in 2011 and devastated the harvest here in the US? I am curious to know some kind of sensitivity analysis – how many tons of corn are produced per year, what regions account for most, and what pricing might be modelled if one years supply of an area equal to Australia floods, or Russian heat were to be obliterated.

    Any research types interested in this?

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    Pretty tuff if the people who suppose to lead the way and help deal with the worsening situation, actually make things worse. Because why? Ego, Money, Greet, Recklessness …

    fail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail failfail fail fail fail fail human race fail fail …

  3. Will G. says:

    The Science graphic above suggests a much drier planet (with Russia, India, and northern Canada as the exception). Where’s the expected increase in precipitation?

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    Richard L said “Considering the heatwave in Russia, the floods in Australia, I am wondering what is the potential for near term widespread crop shortages?”

    A not so much known little fact but, the Brisbane area contains one of the most fertile farming areas in the world.

    Wiki -
    The Lockyer Valley is area of rich farmlands that lies to the west of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and east of Toowoomba. The Lockyer Valley is rated among the top ten most fertile farming areas in the world. The intensively cultivated area grows the most diverse range of commercial fruit and vegetables of any area in Australia and is often referred to as “South East Queensland’s Salad Bowl”.
    The valley is experiencing increasing urbanisation at both its eastern and western extremities. As commuters move into the area, its towns are becoming dormitory suburbs and satellite towns of the Brisbane-Ipswich conurbation in the east and Toowoomba in the west. Urban planning measures have been implemented to preserve the good quality agricultural land and rural feel of the valley. Such measures largely confine future development to non-arable land on the slopes of the hills.

    Climate

    The Lockyer Valley typically experiences temperatures higher than the Brisbane region in summer, but colder in the winter. In November 2008, the valley experienced some of the worst flooding in its recorded history with farmers experiencing total crop failure. The flooding claimed the lives of livestock as well as an elderly female in the Forest Hill area, caught up in the flooding whilst driving. This event was overshadowed by severe flooding in January 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockyer_Valley

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    Richard L said “Considering the heatwave in Russia, the floods in Australia, I am wondering what is the potential for near term widespread crop shortages?”

    Winter grain crop ‘ruined’ by floods
    Updated December 28, 2010 09:01:00

    Southern Queensland’s winter grain crop has been all but destroyed by flooding, costing the industry about $400 million.
    Agforce grains president Wayne Newton says any winter crops of wheat and chick peas that were not harvested will most likely be ruined.
    He says it is also likely to have a devastating impact on summer crops of sorghum and cotton.
    “It’s certainly going to be reduced yield from some of the crops,” he said.
    “Some crops are totally drowned out and some have just been inundated.
    “If it fines up they’ll probably bounce back to a degree but it all depends on how much more rain we keep getting.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/12/28/3102516.htm?site=brisbane

    Yes, and we learned that that was so far a lot of more rain since then and that more severe weather is announced for Brisbane area and that the actual “rainy” season just started.

  6. Mike Roddy says:

    Yet another senior citizen scientist- a la Dyson, Singer, and Lewis- who has obviously blown a few gaskets. I’m not sure what the cure is, since these gargoyles seem to keep popping up.

  7. George Ennis says:

    What is frightening beyond the fact that so many people are willing to vote for and support candidates who deny the reality of AGW is the thought of what will happens if the public ever wakes up to the fact that they have been lied to. I say if because millions of people are clinging to the illusion that its not real because to do otherwise would mean that they would have to support substantive changes in the economy.

    I suspect that if the slumbering giant of US voters is woken by the intrusion of the reality of climate change in their daily lives then there are going to be a lot of very angry people looking for those culpable for delaying action on climate change for so long.

    But for now, the “giant” sleeps and it seems that will be the case at least for another decade despite all the climatologists frantically poking the giant to wake up.

  8. Dana says:

    “He said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400 A.D.”

    Wow, the planet is now 6 degrees hotter than it was in 1400? Brilliant!

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    Mike Roddy said “I’m not sure what the cure is, since these gargoyles seem to keep popping up.”

    It’s lame that it only takes nowadays a single individual (with enough cash) to influence the prospects of an entire species.

  10. Steve Metzler says:

    …the feasibility of using helium-3 from the moon to supply energy on Earth.

    Dude has been watching too much Moon (2009). Was a great film though.

  11. ANON says:

    New Mexico, you are not alone, Maine just elected a new governor, Tea-Party favorite Paul LePage. LePage is quoted as saying “I don’t know if global warming is a myth or not, but I will say this: I do not believe in Al Gore science.” On other occasions he has said that he considers the science behind global warming “a hoax” and “a scam”, this, in spite of many scientific publications reporting long-term trends towards warming and associated consistent trends in environmental measures that are associated with warming in Maine, from the timing of lake ice-out to the migration of ticks. LePage appointed Darryl Brown, a land development consultant, to lead the Department of Environmental Protection.

    The most worrisome trend that I see is that if the majority of the citizenry at large can be convinced that any given environmental policy is in conflict with economic development and growth (aka what Joe refers to as the Ponzi scheme) they can be convinced to vote against the environment.

    LePage is unabashedly pro business 100% of the time and this is the litmus test he will apply to any issue. He likes to talk about helping Maine lobstermen, too bad he does not appreciate the science that is quite compelling that indicates following out current trajectory, his grandchildern will very likely witness the end of the iconic Maine lobster fishery.

  12. I read that there are now about 500 human beings who have been in space – or rather orbital micro-gravity.

    So, one out of 500 is a whack job who believes in lunar helium. One wore diapers to stalk her lover. A few others may have become alcoholics, etc. For a brief time each was an heroic explorer, or teacher, scientist, pilot, even a brave tourist or curious congressmen. Most still are heroes of our civilization deserving our praise and admiration. Some died in heroic strivings. What an amazing group of people.

    Any group of a dozen or more will have among them a Judas or an idiot.

    (sarcasm on:)
    Gosh what a decision, who should we listen to? Who should we follow?

  13. Jay Alt says:

    I looked into Harrison H Schmitt’s career about a year ago after he showed up at a denialist event. Now, he’s a legit scientist with publications; he had a geology career before joining NASA. But few geologists of his generation know climate science (in fact, in the early 1960s, plate tectonics was a controversial theory in many US geology depts). Schmitt’s PhD work is of course specialized. He studied metamorphic rocks in Norway, the Eiksundsdal Eclogite Complex. (google scholar) At the time, these were thought to be Precambrian relics which might be useful for insights into lunar processes. (But isotopic dating in the 1970s later showed they weren’t that old.) Aside from that short bit of work on earth, all his publications have been on lunar geology.
    .
    ‘Jack’ Schmitt has spent his life studying ‘dead’ rocks, formed either in the icy vacuum of space or from ages when bacteria & soft-shells were the entire animal kingdom. He’s never needed to ponder what the influence of living things is on geologic processes or bio-geochemical cycles like carbon. Therefore turning to Schmitt for advice on climate change is as appropriate as asking the undertaker to take over your children’s annual checkups.

  14. richard sequest says:

    I recently had a conversation with an old college roommate about climate change. Having grown up on a farm, he’s a practical guy, a little conservative politically, and naturally skeptical about just everything, including the threat of climate change. I’m a progressive but we still get along pretty well.

    So we were talking about climate change and I used the argument I believe I read on this blog sometime back that goes something like this:

    If your child was seriously ill and you consulted 100 physicians of which 97 said the treatment should be X and 3 said the treatment should by Y, which treatment would you choose?

    Well, obviously, most parents would go along with treatment X suggeted by the 97 physicians.

    When I said that 97% of climate scientists believe humans are contributing to global warming which may cause potentially catastrophic climate change his eyes lit up and he said, “you are absolutely right!”

    So, for me, this is the drop dead argument that should stop any “rational” denier in his/her tracks.

    Does anyone know where this statistic, i.e., “97% of climate scientists believe…”, comes from? Do I have my facts right?

    [JR: Start here.]

  15. Theodore says:

    Fusion energy generates a lot of unwarranted enthusiasm. Although estimates of the cost of electric power from this source are extremely premature, it seems quite unlikely to be less than it is from other forms of electric power. The complexity and difficulty of the experimental efforts suggest that the cost of a power plant could be rather high. This, of course, translates directly to high electricity costs. Even if technical success came tomorrow, I would not see it being an economical energy source, even a hundred years from now. Even practically zero fuel costs would not be able to provide low electricity costs.

    I would like to be wrong about this. Go ahead. Tell me why I’m wrong. You may even include lunar helium in the analysis if you like.

  16. Richard L says:

    Thanks Prokaryotes, that is good to know.

    Although $400 million sounds like a lot of money, I am guessing it is a very small percentage of the world ag production (although very important to the Aussies of course). The crux of my question is: what might be enough weather ‘anomolies’ to affect the food supply? Could these occur in a timeframe significantly shorter than the typical focus of AGW analysts?

  17. Mimikatz says:

    The figure is 97% of climate scientists believe that global warming is human caused. link.

    A survey of 3,146 scientists revealed that 82% believed that humans were a significant factor in climate change.

    Of climate scientists the figure was 97%. Interestingly,

    “Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in human involvement.”

    Hmmmmm.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    They shoulda left him on da moon! What is it about the reactionary rump of geologists that makes them such avid denialists? I always thought it must be their role in mining, drilling and exploration, exacerbated by groupthink and romantic delusions of themselves as ‘loners’ standing against the hordes of ‘watermelons’. Geologists of a certain type, statisticians of the ‘Lies, damned lies ‘ school, Rightwing ideologues, business psychopaths-it’s a motley crew, driving us fast to the grave.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    George Enniss #7, I’ve been thinking the same, for a while. Being a notorious denialist or even an enthusiastic Dunning-Krugerite, will be a real black mark on one’s CV once the reality of the coming, already unfolding, global disaster hits home. While the rational, humane and decent fraction of humanity will be able to forgive, if not forget, the denialist rabble, and deal with the real climate criminals according to justice, the denialists must fear the reaction of their own type. I fear that the inchoate, ever deepening, rage and propensity to violence, intimidation and abuse, currently being directed by the denialists at climate realists and climate scientists, will be directed, in even more virulent fashion, at the denialists themselves. It might seem like poetic justice, but one of the prime requirements for saving ourselves is that we put rancour, rage and hatred behind us, and get down to working together, as never before, to save ourselves from destruction.

  20. Prokaryotes says:

    Richard L said “… what might be enough weather ‘anomolies’ to affect the food supply? Could these occur in a timeframe significantly shorter than the typical focus of AGW analysts?”

    Yes, because it is possible that markets bet on food, which was an issue at least in 2008.

    (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy takes his campaign for greater global food price and currency stability to Washington this week when he seeks Barack Obama’s support for France’s goals as head of the Group of 20 powers.

    Soaring food prices and riots in Algeria and elsewhere offer Sarkozy ammunition to press for more coordination among G20 governments to combat wild swings in vital commodity prices as well as exchange rates against the long-dominant U.S. dollar.

    Sarkozy wants to use his run at the G20 helm in 2011 to start, if not finish, reforms of the monetary system at a time when many countries are tempted to let their currencies drop to promote exports and growth after the worst downturn since World War Two — even if that is at each others’ expense.

    Brazil’s finance minister warned of a “trade war” if countries kept pushing down exchange rates and said the United States and China were among the worst offenders. He said Brazil would take further steps to damp down the rise of its currency.

    Paris is also pressing for international efforts to impose greater transparency in commodity market trading and pricing, and for tougher regulation of commodity derivatives trade along the lines pursued for other investment derivatives in the wake of the financial market crisis that began in 2007.

    “As we sense it, more multilateralism is the best answer to the increased instability in the world,” a Sarkozy adviser said of a meeting on Monday in Washington, where Sarkozy will be accompanied by wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy as well as his finance and defense ministers.

    “We want to broach this thinking with the Americans and see if they are willing to join in such an approach, whereafter we can produce more precise proposals,” said the adviser, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE7093OS20110110

  21. David B. Benson says:

    Gone emeritus, as the saying is these days.

  22. Ziyu says:

    There’s no such thing as definitive science. There’s facts, hypotheses, theorems, and laws. If a hypothesis has lots of evidence supporting it and there is consensus that it is true, it becomes a theory. Very very rarely does a theory become a law. Even then, nothing in science is written in stone. I believe fusion might be possible 25-50 years into the future, but Helium 3 from the moon? This guy’s been watching too much science fiction.

  23. Chris Winter says:

    Theodore wrote (#16): “Even if technical success came tomorrow, I would not see it being an economical energy source, even a hundred years from now. Even practically zero fuel costs would not be able to provide low electricity costs.”

    I don’t have time to look into the numbers now, but I have no doubt you’re basically right. The only thing I would question is your “hundred years.” If “better than breakeven” nuclear fusion of some sort (there are many) were demonstrated tomorrow, it would take decades to become economical. But a hundred years is a long time. Think of the progress made during the twentieth century.

  24. spacermase says:

    @Chris Winter and Theodore

    Fusion economics depends on the type used. If it’s deuterium, than yeah, we won’t even have a reactor big enough for net power until 2020 (and that’s assuming ITER is finished on time), and the commercial DEMO unit won’t be finished for at least another 10 years after that. The optimistic estimates for widespread adoption of deuterium tokamak reactors is around 2050, and we simply don’t have that time.

    Another form, which has been getting a little more attention nowadays, is aneutronic. It’s a lot less well-understood, but it has a lot of things going for it- it produces little to no radiation, is monstrously efficient (because it involves direct matter-to-energy conversion), uses boron for fuel (with helium as the only major end product, which we need more of anyway), and the reactors designs are generally much simpler and magnitudes cheaper to build. According to the polywell reactor team (who are being very quietly funded by the U.S. Navy), they estimate that they if their calculations are correct, they should be able to build a net power reactor in 2012, with a commercial demo possibly as early as 2020; the latter would cost about 300 million to build, comparable to a coal plant. However, this all contingent on the theory being correct, and we won’t know that for at least another two years.

    Bottom line, fusion *may* be a lot closer, and if it does work, it will certainly be the final nail in the coffin for carbon-based fuels for power; however, in many areas of the country, renewables will still probably be cheaper.

  25. Joan Savage says:

    OK, we can infer that heat and drought could eventually drive many people out of New Mexico, regardless of sources of electricity.

    Currently New Mexico depends on coal and gas for 95% energy generation (Institute for Energy Research report), so there is little surprise in a political decision to appoint an Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department administrator who would be amenable to the status quo. However, he will also have to deal with water limitation.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory conducts fusion projects, which might be a federal-to-state funding tie in this particular appointment.
    Sandia National Laboratories (affiliated with Lockheed Martin) works on energy security, including several solar projects.

    It will be interesting to see if any of the solar energy innovations are advanced to phase out the coal plants in New Mexico.