News Article

Mexican Government Vows to Fight Climate Change

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 10:10

The climate change scenarios forecasted for Mexico in the 2015-2039 period are worrying. It is predicted that temperature could increase by up to 2°C per year in the northern regions, while the rest of the country could suffer increments of between 1-1.5°C. Unless urgent actions are taken, these predictions could have severe social, economic, and environmental consequences in the country.

Globally, there is a similar situation. If the international community does not reach an agreement in the next World Climate Summit in Paris, the planet’s temperature could increase by more than 2°C by the end of the 21st Century.

The actions Mexico has undertaken to fight climate change have been internationally acknowledged. In 2012, Congress passed the General Climate Change Law, making Mexico the first developing country to enshrine climate change policy into law, and the second nation to do so, following the UK.

Throughout President Peña Nieto’s administration, we have implemented this legislation, achieving significant advancements, such as the drafting and issuing of the 2013 National Climate Change Strategy. This instrument will be the backbone of the country’s climate change policy for the next 40 years. The Special Climate Change Program spawns from this document, and it details the specific actions the government is taking to help the country become competitive and resilient in reducing its carbon emissions. It is worth mentioning that both instruments address the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon, which is not only crucial in fighting climate change, but also fundamental in improving the health of the Mexican people.

Mexico has also been a pioneer in creating a tax on the importation and sale of fossil fuels, which came into effect in January 2014. In addition, and as outlined in the General Climate Change Law, SEMARNAT created and is already operating Mexico’s Climate Change Fund, which promotes adaptation and mitigation projects to combat this phenomenon.

Two of the main climate policy instruments that derive from the General Climate Change Law are the National Greenhouse Emissions Inventory and the National Emissions Registry. The former was updated during this administrative period with figures from 2013, while the latter became effective in October 2014. These instruments are crucial for identifying mitigation opportunities and designing efficient public policies. All of these actions have been carried out with the Inter-Ministerial Climate Change Commission, the Climate Change Council, and the National Ecology and Climate Change Institute. These three Mexican institutions, along with federal entities, national municipal associations, and Congress, compose the National Climate Change System.

In March 2015, Mexico presented its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, which display the Mexican Government’s commitment to support global efforts in the reduction of emissions and the promotion of adaptation. For the first time, the country will adhere to legally established goals if an agreement applicable to every country is reached during the next World Climate Summit. We have relatively ambitious targets, like the nonconditional reduction of greenhouse gases by 22% and black carbon by 51% during the 2020-2030 period, as well as aiming for peak emissions in 2026. If we can also obtain financial and technological resources from abroad, we could even reduce greenhouse gases by 36% and black carbon by 70%.

The challenge is colossal, as it requires a profound transformation in a short period of time and strong leadership, both in a political and social context. In this sense, Mexican society and the government are firmly committed to doing our part.