Mexico’s Climate and Energy Law
Canada and the US should take a closer look at their southern sister nation’s environmental protocols. Last week, Mexico’s senate approved a groundbreaking climate and energy law, becoming the second country in the world to approve strict guidelines for environmental sustainability. Initially passing Mexico’s lower house with a 128-for and 10-against vote, the Senate approved the bill with a unanimous 78-0 vote on April 19th. Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon, is set to finalize the bill in the near future.
The bill sets to motion several measures that not only promote sustainable development, but also the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in key energy sectors. Some of the key points of the bill include:
- 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2000 levels by 2020; from there, a 50% total reduction of emissions by 2050
- 35% of electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2024
- the creation of a national system that reports emission levels on various government and economic sectors
These are definitely daunting protocols, especially in light of Mexico’s standing as the 11th largest carbon emitting nation.
Despite the Mexican Senate’s unanimous approval, foreign investors are questioning Mexico’s move to become more eco-friendly. This skepticism comes in light of Mexico’s growing population and an expanding economy that is still heavily fueled by its oil sector. With future investments away from oil, its economy is bound to suffer as oil-based benefactors slowly leave the country. As well, with renewable energy still in its development stages, the country may find it difficult to replace its energy sector without further breakthroughs in solar and wind energy.
Of course, Mexico’s politicians are not without their optimism. As a still-developing country, Mexico simply has to curb its growth instead of reducing already-extravagant carbon dioxide emissions, giving it more options in achieving its energy goals. As well, Mexico is hoping to lead the way forward for renewable energy development. With its windy coast and equatorial sun, its geography is well-suited for renewable research.
National Environment Laws
The passing of Mexico’s climate and energy bill is indicative of a larger movement towards national, rather than international, sustainability. In fact, Australia, China, and the UK are all nations that are using more domestic bills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to promote renewable energy. These national laws promote smaller, more regional steps towards sustainable development – a mindset that differs from the international community image that underlies both the UN and the Kyoto Protocol.
The image of an international community is usually heralded as the ultimate goal in today’s connected society. However, this change in mindset does not have to be a bad thing. The promotion of an international community comes with many roadblocks and lengthy negotiations. These are time-consuming acts at a time when action must be taken soon before irreparable damage is done to our planet.
It is important that Mexico is leading this change towards more regional protocols to reduce a nation’s carbon footprint. As a still-growing nation, Mexico’s willingness to take on such a daunting task serves as an inspiration for other, more developed nations to do the same. Only time will tell if their northern neighbours are willing to answer the call.