Mexico: (1) Strengthen country pledge to the Paris Agreement,; (2) Make a stronger commitment to renewable energy; (3) Improve coordination of the environmental policies of different ministries
Mexico’s current unconditional pledge for the Paris Agreement is to reduce 22% of its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, a figure that could rise to 36% under the condition of international support. Although praised by some for its comprehensive dimensions, this commitment won’t be enough to achieve the Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Moreover, so far current policies haven’t proved sufficient to reach Mexico’s intended goals.
To strengthen its pledge, Mexico should rely less on actions from other countries. Its conditional goal was designed with regional support from the US and Canada in mind, and given the current circumstances that seems highly unlikely. Therefore, Mexico should pledge to unconditionally achieve that 36% (or even more) reduction through its own means. Only by doing so, would Mexico be able to reach peak emissions by 2026.
Another key measure that Mexico should add to its pledge is a stronger commitment to renewable energy. By law Mexico is already focused on achieving 50% of clean energy by 2050. Including this goal in its Paris Agreement pledge would further demonstrate its commitment.
Finally, Mexico uses a Business As Usual (BAU) scenario of emissions based on economic growth in the absence of climate change policies, starting from 2013, the year when Mexico´s General Climate Change Law became applicable. Although it has been suggested that using a fixed base year is better due to the uncertainty of using BAU scenarios, that uncertainty can be reduced by establishing a fixed year for which emissions data are available, which is the case of Mexico, since a GHG emission inventory was published that year.
There also is a need to harmonize the different laws, policies and programs that have any impacts regarding climate change. This is because most of them are developed independently from one another and result in contradictory goals that public and private bodies use according to their own interests. For example, although the General Climate Change Law calls for reduction of emissions and increase of renewable energies, the Energy Reform of 2013 sets goals that promote oil and natural gas production, which would lead to an increase in GHG emissions. Cross-checking and reviewing these inconsistencies will enable the standardization of Mexico’s climate commitments throughout different sectors that normally wouldn’t integrate climate goals in their plans and policies. At the same time, existing programs should establish clear implementation and monitoring mechanisms, indicators, and targets, which are currently conspicuous by their absence. By doing so, it will be easier to have a continuous evaluation of Mexico’s performance implementing its Paris Agreement pledge and will allow us to understand what are the priority areas in need of attention in order to achieve the established goals.
Mexico’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/Mexico/1/MEXICO%20INDC%2003.30.2015.pdf
Mexico’s Climate Change Mid-Century Strategy submitted to the UNFCCC http://unfccc.int/files/focus/long-term_strategies/application/pdf/mexico_mcs_final_cop22nov16_red.pdf
Evaluation of INDC and policies by Climate Action Tracker
“Paris Agreement climate proposals need a boost to keep warming well below 2 °C”
“Beyond the targets: assessing the political credibility of pledges for the Paris Agreement”
“El Régimen Internacional del Cambio Climático y los Retos para México” (Spanish).
“La XXI Conferencia Internacional sobre Cambio Climático (COP21) y sus implicaciones para México” (Spanish)
“Seguridad, disponibilidad y sustentabilidad energética en México” (Spanish)