Mexico: A busy year between Durban and Doha

Student Group: 

“The world is reacting too late to reduce global warming and to prevent or mitigate the effects of climate change” Mr. Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico, in his address to the first plenary session of the XXII Ibero-American summit November 17, 2012.

The country’s climate change agenda has a solid ground that reflects previous work at the international and the national levels, but it also sheds the light to the near future. It isn’t just that Doha and the end of the six-year term for President Calderon happen at the same time. In fact, on December 1st the President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto will take oath and become President of Mexico for a six-year term ending in 2018. Mexico has been incredibly active during 2012, particularly in the fight against climate change and the way forward.

 Mexico has identified many windows of opportunity to approach the fight against climate change. It favors innovative collaborative actions to overcome the financial and technological challenges it faces. It is a country that has chosen to implement policies transitioning to a low-carbon sustainable growth model. I’m positive we’ll be able to see the effects of the actions Mexico has taken in the fight against climate change.

Here are some reasons why I think you should follow Mexico in the climate change negotiations at Doha.

  1.     A case study in the making: decoupling economic growth and carbon emissions[1].

Mexico appears to be on the right path to decoupling economic growth and carbon emissions. There is an observed decoupling trend of economic growth and CO2 emissions in the 1990 – 2010 period.  If the national policies remain supportive of a low carbon growth model, there is a great probability that the decoupling trend overall will be maintained in the years to come.

    2.      Leading in the adoption of national climate change legislation.

The General Law for Climate Change was enacted in June 2012 putting Mexico as a leader in climate legislation. This instrument legalizes the emission reduction national commitment of 30% by 2020 and of 50% by 2050. It also sets goals on vehicle efficiency standards, a revised national disaster risk reduction atlas considering climate change threats, solid waste infrastructure to achieve zero methane emissions, positive subsidies to promote the use of non-fossil fuels, energy efficiency standards, sustainable public transportation systems, 35% of national power generation capacity from renewable sources by 2024, among other goals. The before mentioned goals are achievable conditional to the international finance  and technology transfer support.

   3.       Engaging participation in the 2012 international agenda.

The international participation of Mexico in 2012 was paced by the Mexican presidency of the G20, but it also included engaging roles in several multilateral and bilateral forums, dialogues and summits. Mexico’s effective leadership role for negotiating agreements in climate financing promises to have a salient role in the delegation’s participation in Doha COP18. 

I present a sample of relevant participations that showcase Mexico’s role in the climate change international agenda for this year.

  1. III Petersberg climate dialogue[2]. Mexico was clear on its position on the prevention of the increase in global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius. A goal that requires enhanced international action. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, praised Mexican efforts in adopting a green growth strategy and overcoming the negative effects of the world economic crisis.  Also in this forum Mexico reaffirmed its position on the importance of finishing the new outcome of legal force that would become active in 2020.
  2. Mexican Presidency of the G20 and climate change. One of the five priorities of the Mexican presidency was promoting sustainable development, green growth and the fight against climate change. Mexico obtained support and attention within the group for some relevant climate change initiatives: 1) The consensus in the activation of the Green Climate Fund, to help tackle the upfront costs of mitigation and adaptation to climate change that developing countries face; 2) The creation of the G20 study group on climate finance set to release a report during November 2012; and 3) The agreement to maintain the inclusive green growth focus in the G20 agenda.
  3. Mexico and the Green Climate Fund (GCF)[3]. Mexico has promoted and supported the GCF since COP16 in Cancun. One of the 32 board members is Dr. Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, former Minister of Finance and Public Credit. The delegation will follow the up dates for the GC during the COP.
  4. Mexico and the Organization of American States (OAS)[4]. Mexico will chair the Permanent Council of the OAS from October until December 2012. The priority areas related to climate change will be on food price volatility and its impact on sustainable development.
  5. Mexico and the SBASTA[5]. Mexico will follow up on the results from the workshop on water, climate change impacts and strategies for adaptation hosted earlier this year in Mexico City.
  6. Mexico and Rio+20. For the first time in the history of the country sustainable development was included as one of the major development axis in the national development plan 2007 – 2012. Therefore the objectives of the conference on the green economy in the context of poverty alleviation and sustainable development and the international environmental governance were in tune with the national policies. The reaffirmation of the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and equity was also aligned with the Mexican agenda.

Jose Medina-Mora, Master in Environmental Management 2013 candidate, Yale school of forestry and environmental studies. All the views reflected in this blog are on personal capacity and do not represent any official position.

[1] INEGI – BIE (GDP data), INEGEI (emission data) from the presentation of Mr. Francisco Barnes Regueiro entitled, “Towards a green economy in Mexico”, presented at the International Colloquium: Rio+20 Teachings for Mexico. Mexico city, 11/15/12

[2] Visited on 11/19/12 [webpage in Spanish]

[3] Visited on 11/19/12

[4] Visited on 11/19/12 [webpage in Spanish]

[5] Visited on 11/19/12 [webpage in Spanish]