Mexico’s Path Towards Alignment With Energy SDGsBy Rodrigo Brugada | Mon, 05/03/2021 - 20:12
Since their instauration in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aim to provide a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. One of the key components towards a sustainable future, since the climate crisis poses a significant threat to humanity, is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. This goal entails that by 2030, humanity must ensure universal access to energy services, increase the share of renewable energy substantially, doubles energy efficiency, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy and expand infrastructure and upgrades technology to supply modern and sustainable energy services for all.
Mexico’s National Development Plan is aligned with these goals but there is still a long way to go. The International Energy Agency and Our World in Data databases show that, while Mexico is on track towards a paradigm change, there is a lot of room for improvement in SDG indicators. There are significant caveats with this data. It only covers records up to 2019 and, while it does not show the shifts brought by COVID-19, it still offers a glimpse into Mexico's energetic policies. There has been a downward trend in energy intensity per unit of GDP (SDG 7.3) and carbon intensity of energy production (SDG 9.4). Still, the country continues to use carbon-intensive sources and the share of renewables in final energy consumption is stagnating around 10 percent.
There are also critical social impacts that need to be factored into the advancement towards these goals. While data shows that almost a hundred percent of the population has access to electricity, there is scarce data regarding the infrastructure and conditions of the grid that could lead to interruptions in electricity availability. There is also a lack of inclusion of data surrounding energetic poverty in a country where 17 percent of the population suffers from it, as reported by Animal Politico. One other important example is that 15 percent of the population does not have access to clean fuels for cooking, a problem that must be swiftly tackled to advance towards the SDG, as stated in a policy brief by the UN.
That same policy brief hailed Mexico as a leader in the Latin American region alongside Chile, Brazil and Uruguay. The UN states that the government's active role as a facilitator of the development of the energy sector should be reinforced, emphasizing its endowment of natural resources to provide access to clean and accessible energy. Despite policies implemented in alignment with these goals, political alignment regarding them has created a fraught situation. As reported by Animal Politico, the Federation's Superior Audit pointed to a lack of coordination between the elaboration and implementation of strategies to reach the SDG that will probably lead to a failure to meet these goals. According to international agreements, Mexico should achieve 35 percent of electricity production from renewable sources by 2024. Currently, the renewable share for electric output is around 23 percent.
There needs to be a realignment between the current administration and international goals. Despite ongoing pressures, Mexico has pushed back against the transition to renewables while also opting to keep subsidizing PEMEX and building infrastructure that favors fossil fuels, as stated by AUNA. As we advance, the current administration has yet to publish a national voluntary review of the high-level political forum on sustainable development, as its first review is scheduled for later this year.