Climate Change

Central New Mexico Climate Change Scenario Planning Project

MRCOG recently collaborated on an effort to integrate climate change analysis into the long-range transportation and land use planning process. The Central New Mexico Climate Change Scenario Planning Project assessed the costs and benefits of a series of growth scenarios to determine how best to manage congestion, reduce emissions, and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The project coincided with the development of the Futures 2040 MTP and utilized transportation and land use scenarios to assess the region’s resiliency to the impacts of climate change. The project was a partnership between MRCOG, the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT Volpe Center, and federal land management areas including the Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Climate Change Scenario Planning Project Background

The Central New Mexico Climate Change Scenario Planning Project will assess the costs and benefits of a series of growth scenarios to determine how best to manage congestion, reduce emissions, and adapt to the impacts of climate change. It is important to note that these are the same scenarios that will be utilized for the 2040 MTP. The region was selected in part due to its arid climate that is vulnerable to droughts and wildfires and air quality concerns related to mobile-source emissions.

The project is a partnership between MRCOG, the Federal Highway Administration, and federal land management areas including the Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and will build upon the analysis conducted as part of the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, Futures 2040. The project also provides funding support for developing and analyzing potential alternative growth scenarios and incorporating environmental and natural resource variables into MRCOG’s modeling environment.

  1. Components
  2. Summer 2014 Workshops
  3. Timeline & Outcomes
  4. Final Reports
  5. Resources

Climate Change Scenario Planning Project Components

  • Climate Futures

The first step in the project was to build off of a recent Upper Rio Grande Basin Study completed by the Bureau of Reclamation to consider future climate conditions in the region. In particular, the project considered the ranges of potential changes in temperature and precipitation levels, and whether those changes will make the region more vulnerable to events such as droughts, wildfires, and flooding. See the climate futures report (PDF) and presentation (PDF) for more information on changing temperature and precipitation levels, as well as the reports on the effects of climate change on central New Mexico (PDF) and the resiliency of the region to climate change impacts (PDF).

  • Mitigation

Through the study the MRCOG region serves as an example for other metropolitan areas by considering ways to improve air quality and mitigate the effects of climate change through greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction strategies as part of the long-range transportation plan development process. Transportation results in almost 30 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. and there are significant opportunities to improve conditions locally by reducing vehicle miles traveled through various strategies or encouraging less energy-intensive forms of transportation. Two reports were developed during the course of the project on potential GHG emissions reduction strategies (PDF) and the quantitative benefits (PDF) from applying certain emissions-reduction strategies locally. Analysis on change in CO₂ emissions was also conducted as part of the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, where per capita mobile source emissions are projected to decrease, though total emissions are expected to increase.

  • Adaptation

The study considered the impacts of climate change on New Mexico with particular emphasis placed on both the supply and potential demand for water resources over the coming decades. Water resource levels may vary greatly depending on changing precipitation and temperature levels throughout the Rio Grande Basin (for more information see the Bureau of Reclamation’s Upper Rio Grande Basin Study. What is more, the level of growth that is projected for the four-county region (about 500,000 new residents by 2040) may increase the strain on water supplies. Analysis was performed on how consumption patterns may vary depending on the forms that development takes within the region. Additional adaptation considerations included the extent of future development in locations at risk to flooding and wildfire.

  1. Dave Pennella

    MPO Administrator

  2. Physical Address
    809 Copper Avenue NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87102