April 29, 2012

Mexican Senate passes national climate law after passing the House: continuing to act at home

The Mexican Senate passed the national climate law that recently passed the Mexican House.  The bill now awaits the signature of President Felipe Calderón who is expected to sign the bill into law.  This law sends a strong signal that Mexico will continue to implement actions to reduce global warming pollution now and into the future.  It sets in place the foundation for even greater action by Mexico under future Administrations**.

The bill passed both the Mexican House and Senate with large majorities, showing the multi-party support for climate action in Mexico.  The Senate passed the bill 78-0 and the House passed it by a vote of 280-10 with one abstention.

The bill would include provisions to:

  • Establish in domestic law the country’s target to reduce its emissions 30 percent below business-as-usual emissions by 2020 and 50 percent below 2000 levels by 2050.  This is a target that Mexico announced back in 2008 and was later reaffirmed at the Copenhagen Climate Summit.
  • Direct the Ministry of Finance and the Energy Ministry to develop incentives to promote renewable energy, which would be an important step towards scaling-up the deployment of renewable electricity in Mexico.  While Mexico has shown some progress on clean energy over the past couple of years, the amount of clean energy investment in Mexico declined by 97 percent last year according to a new report.  So hopefully this would reverse this trend.
  • Define a goal to increase the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources by establishing an aspirational target to produce 35% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2024.  Mexico has abundant sources of renewable energy with some of the best wind in the world located in Oaxaca and lots of sun for solar electricity but renewable electricity is still a small share of its electricity mix.  In 2010 wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, and wave power accounted for 2.7 percent of its electricity production, according to the Energy Information Administration.
  • Create a high-level climate change commission to oversee national climate policy over sustained Administrations.  President Calderon established an inter-ministry panel, but the law would ensure that high-level multi-ministry engagement occurs even after his term is over.
  • Require mandatory emissions reporting for the largest source of global warming pollution in the country.  This is an important tool as the saying goes: “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”.
  • Support the development of a domestic emission trading system, but the bill wouldn’t mandate the establishment of such a program.  Earlier in the Administration of President Calderón there were some hints that they might adopt a cap-and-trade program for the largest sources of global warming pollution in the country (e.g., the power sector and cement).

This is another clear sign that countries are acting at home following from their international commitments made at Copenhagen and Cancun.  After President Felipe Calderón signs the bill into law, it will be critical for the Mexican government to follow through by implementing new policies and incentives to meet the aggressive objectives outlined in the law. This law sends a clear signal that these reforms will be implemented now and into the future. 


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