Candidate, NM House of Representatives, 31

Athena Christodoulou

AthenaForNM.org
May232020421PM_80182230_BallotpediaheadshotChristodoulou.png
  • If elected, what specific policies will you pursue in 2023 to begin rapidly transitioning our economy to achieve carbon neutrality in the timeframe set by the world’s leading scientists?

We need to set specific targets on direct emission reductions for the entire State and all industries and entities. All targets must not include hydrogen because for our state that is a false solution.

  • Do you agree with climate scientists that the brunt of the impacts we face due to climate change will be put on those who contributed the least emissions? (The global South, Indigenous, and low-income communities)

Yes 

  • Do you agree with climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed within 8 years in order to achieve carbon neutrality in time to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees and to avoid catastrophic runaway climate disruption?

Yes

  • In your opinion, why do political leaders set benchmarks and timeframes for emissions reductions that do not comport with climate science mandates?

They are poorly educated and do not know how to who to trust and how to read science. Our legislator needs to be paid they do not rely on lobbyists and they need to have staff, paid staff all year long.

  • If elected, what will you do differently than current leadership?

I will use my own engineering and science education and background to inform myself and other legislators. Like I did this past session.

  • What measures will you propose and advance to ensure that economic recovery and the transition to a green economy fosters equity and economic & racial justice?

All gas oil and coal usage will be taxed extra like we did for marijuana. Any new extraction will have to fix old problems. We will need to have an incentive program and fund to encourage and support the transition to clean energy like electric vehicles both new and used. And I will consult yucca for other suggestions.

  • If elected, will you support the creation of a Just Transition Study & Fund to identify alternative revenue sources for our state budget and allocate funds from oil and gas directly into community-driven climate mitigation and adaptation strategies? Explain.

Yes. Our tax structure needs to be changed, we need to be charging a higher gas tax. We need to be charging higher royalties for gas. We need to be fixing the GRT and stopping the loopholes. And most importantly we need to pay our legislature and modernize them

  • If elected, how will you include Indigenous and traditional land-based knowledge in the development of a sustainable economy for all of NM?

We need to stop setting our money as the only goal. We need to consider the community, families and lands in our decision making. We need to begin the reparations. We need to be pushing our federal government to fix the checkerboard situation. Our state land commissioner has made some progress, but our federal government needs to be pushed, pushed, pushed.

  • Who will you talk to about climate issues? Who advises you? What is your plan for community consultation on climate issues?

I find my advice from scientific resources which I am capable of digesting and understanding, as well as educating others

  • Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM

NIMBY or not in my backyard. In getting my masters for environmental engineering I encountered that acronym and realize New Mexico is bearing the brunt for the entire nation. The most offensive example I recall is when Trump thanked New Mexico for providing cheap gas a few years ago. The most continued is the downwinders and threat of nuclear waste storage. And the most horrific is the immense waste of methane because of lax rules and poor regulation. The industry lied to everybody but especially in New Mexico.

  • What is the responsibility of your generation to the youth and future generations while in office? Explain.

My generation didn't cause it all, but they have the possibility and the obligation to do their their best to leave a livable planet to the next generation. I want my granddaughters to live in a stable climate. That is the reason I am runnin as a political candidate for the third time in New Mexico so that I can do more than educate and advocate but to activate now.

  • A) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas development in the state of New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

I would place a graduated moratorium beginning with state public lands moving to Federal public lands and finally private lands. Placing on the industry the onus of capping abandoned and orphaned Wells in order to drill any new wells or frack.

  • B) Do you support placing a moratorium on new gas plant investment for utilities in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

The methane problem is more horrendous than originally considered. There should be a moratorium on new gas plants and reviving old coal plants. Especially in the Northwest NM since methane and coal are inseparable in that area.
 

  • Do you support nuclear energy? Why or Why Not?

Nuclear power needs to come from the Sun, a safe 93 million miles away. Nuclear in New Mexico and for the nation will need to be the bridge fuel for as short period of time as we can manage. We need to start solving and addressing that long-term issue.

  • Do you support the development of Hydrogen Production Hubs here in New Mexico? Why or Why Not?

Unless we are providing the clean electrons for electrolysis or a test bed for a market which is very hard to decarbonize, we should not be involved. We should be threatening the federal government with a lawsuit because they are subsidizing, once again, fossil fuels. We need to enact a bill similar to the End Polluters Welfare act by Senator Bernie Sanders.

  • Do you support community ownership of energy where Cities/Counties/Indigenous Nations are able to own, produce, and sell electricity to residents and keep energy dollars local?

Of course, Our utility company have shown time and time again that they are strictly after maintaining their own assets to pay their shareholders and ignore the customers.

  • What do you believe is the fossil fuel industry/utility’s responsibility for cleanup and how as an elected official in the public office for which you are running do you plan to hold industry accountable for pollution and cleanup?

They lied, they are criminals, let's lock them up and make them pay.

  • Do you support utility bill forgiveness for low-income New Mexicans who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis?

Yes

  • Some are saying that COVID-19 is the dress rehearsal for the climate crisis. In fact, in many places throughout the world, the two are compounding crises. What do you think we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis when addressing the climate crisis?

As with COVID-19, we need to ignore money and address the issue and solve it. Our health and well-being is more important than the Almighty dollar. And our governor did a good job until she turned it into a political game. We need to help her come back and stay engaged for the right reasons.

  • Describe your previous experience working on social/health/environmental issues, do you have experience working with impacted communities to co-develop solutions? How will you use this experience to tackle the climate crisis?

I have personally gone fossil fuel free, worked in the New Mexico solar energy association advocating for solutions, and most recently worked with environmental justice and adelante progressive caucuses for addressing climate crisis as well as certain social issues. I have educated, advocated, and now I'm ready to activate.

  • What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?

We need to modernize our legislature by having paid staff, paying our legislatures, and possibly lengthening the sessions. I believe we are already studying this issue and should be able to begin addressing it in 2023.

  • Name specific alternative sources for state revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected

We are already establishing film and space industries. We need to look at whether they are now self-sustaining and begin ratcheting down any unnecessary incentives. We need to redo our tax structure so that the wealthy pay their Fair share. We need to reassess our GRT programs and certainly take away loopholes and pyramiding. We are already finding that renewable energy and other entities like luminaria senior housing in Albuquerque can solve core issues of poverty while providing revenues for the state. The less we have to pay on problems the more we can use towards solutions.

  • Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? Yes/No

No

Will you take the #fossilfree pledge? http://nofossilfuelmoney.org/politician-signup/

Yes