Mexico Puts US To Shame On Climate Action, But New President's Pledge On Oil Industry Is Worrying

Mexico Puts US To Shame On Climate Action, But New President's Pledge On Oil Industry Is Worrying Shutterstock

As if there was any doubt, the UN’s latest report on climate change makes clear this is one of the most pressing issues of our times. And as we witness Extinction Rebellion stirring the pot of protest in the UK, that movement is connected to the geopolitical experience of other countries in important ways.

This is certainly the case where Mexico is concerned, a country that has been rightly held up as a major leader on climate change in the developing world, while putting the US government to shame over its own inaction. The Paris Agreement is a crucial UN-led international arrangement that intensifies global climate decarbonisation and adaptation measures, yet the Trump administration has indicated its intention to pull out.

Mexico has taken direct inspiration from the UK’s Climate Change Act, which requires a 34% reduction in national greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (measured at 1990 emissions levels). In early June the UK government pledged a new commitment of “net zero” by 2050.

Seeking to follow the UK, Mexico put its own equivalent General Law on Climate Change in place in 2012 with advice and support from British experts. The UK is now recognised as the pioneer of this type of framework approach to climate change in the developed world, with Mexico as the equivalent torchbearer in the developing world.

Mexican politics

But things are running far from smoothly in Mexico at present. The country’s recent election of “strongman” president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has significantly hampered the General Law’s implementation. Since taking office in December 2018, the leftist populist has swung his attention and sympathies towards Mexico’s powerful fossil fuel lobby, supported in turn by other powerful lobbies including cement and steel.

Planning to restore the national oil company Pemex to its glory days after the previous administration opened it up to the private sector, Obrador said recently: “We are going to rescue this industry that is so important for the country’s development.” As one of the country’s biggest employers, this has gone down well with many Mexicans. But this also means the future stability of Mexico’s celebrated low-carbon transition has been cast into serious doubt.

Admittedly, the General Law was rocked and buffeted by heavy political winds since its first inception under the presidency of Felipe Calderón. Calderón’s six-year term, which ended in November 2012, was far from smooth, given the damaging impact of economic recession and disquiet around his alleged suppression of the press. But the Calderón administration did succeed in elevating climate change to a position of serious importance on the Mexican policy agenda, bolstered by substantial support from the UK.

Just as the General Law was bedding in, Calderón was replaced by President Enrique Peña Nieto. Beset by accusations of corruption, Nieto’s administration displayed scant regard for climate concerns, and was able to leverage one of the General Law’s great deficiencies to create a culture of climate inertia – a gaping chasm between the law itself and its implementation. In other words, the law was prescribed but the specific policies needed to achieve lower carbon emissions were not.

Mexico Puts US To Shame On Climate Action, But New President's Pledge On Oil Industry Is Worrying Mexico’s national oil company Pemex is one of the country’s biggest employers. Shutterstock

Enter the recently elected President Obrador, who is presently extending this troubling gap between law and action. The Mexican government has long had an I-say-you-do tendency that emanates from the presidential office downward – a tradition strengthened by this recent election. Mexican presidential administrations run for six-year terms (they are non-renewable), and the current president is only getting warmed up.

Of course, in terms of broader UK/Mexico dynamics, things are far from perfect on the UK side. For starters, the UK government has now agreed to up its 2050 reduction target for emissions to net zero, but this could prove difficult to achieve in practice, and some pressure groups including Extinction Rebellion are pushing for a net zero economy by 2025.

Positive example

Admittedly, Mexico’s General Law lacks stringent UK-style reduction targets altogether, instead rolling some soft aspirational targets into an annex to the legal text. But Mexico is a poorer developing country that is not historically responsible for emissions release to the same extent that the highly industrialised developed world is.

And so, in spite of some flaws, the Mexican scheme does set a positive example to the wider world. A growing number of countries are taking inspiration from the serious commitment Mexico and the UK have made to climate issues by scrambling to put their own version of these climate change acts in place.

Added to this, a few months before Obrador took office, in July 2018, an amendment beefed up the Mexican framework slightly to bring it into line with requirements under the international Paris Agreement. So there is still much to feel optimistic about.

It is to be hoped that the Obrador administration recognises that valuing and acting on Mexico’s important, pioneering framework begins at home. This will allow the flow of international green finance to Mexico from the UK and other major state funders to continue. If not, the UK will be looking elsewhere for a developing nation to support it in its commitment to fighting climate change.The Conversation

About The Author

Thomas L Muinzer, Lecturer in Energy Law, University of Dundee

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Related Books

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming Kindle Edition

by David Wallace-Wells
0525576703It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. In California, wildfires now rage year-round, destroying thousands of homes. Across the US, “500-year” storms pummel communities month after month, and floods displace tens of millions annually. This is only a preview of the changes to come. And they are coming fast. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century. Available On Amazon

The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption

by Dahr Jamail
1620972344After nearly a decade overseas as a war reporter, the acclaimed journalist Dahr Jamail returned to America to renew his passion for mountaineering, only to find that the slopes he had once climbed have been irrevocably changed by climate disruption. In response, Jamail embarks on a journey to the geographical front lines of this crisis—from Alaska to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, via the Amazon rainforest—in order to discover the consequences to nature and to humans of the loss of ice.  Available On Amazon

Our Earth, Our Species, Our Selves: How to Thrive While Creating a Sustainable World

by Ellen Moyer
1942936559Our scarcest resource is time. With determination and action, we can implement solutions rather than sit on the sidelines suffering harmful impacts. We deserve, and can have, better health and a cleaner environment, a stable climate, healthy ecosystems, sustainable use of resources, and less need for damage control. We have so much to gain. Through science and stories, Our Earth, Our Species, Our Selves makes the case for hope, optimism, and practical solutions we can take individually and collectively to green our technology, green our economy, strengthen our democracy, and create social equality. Available On Amazon

From The Publisher:
Purchases on Amazon go to defray the cost of bringing you InnerSelf.comelf.com, MightyNatural.com, and ClimateImpactNews.com at no cost and without advertisers that track your browsing habits. Even if you click on a link but don't buy these selected products, anything else you buy in that same visit on Amazon pays us a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, so please contribute to the effort. You can also use this link to use to Amazon at any time so you can help support our efforts.

 

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeiwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptruesswsvthtrukurvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

POLITICS

How Divergent Goals Hinder The Fight Of The Climate Crisis
How Divergent Goals Hinder The Fight Of The Climate Crisis
by Pascale Dufour
Nearly half a million people demonstrated in Montréal to demand climate action on Sept. 27. It was one of the largest…
Canada's Liberals Make It Hard For Green Voters To Love Them
Canada's Liberals Make It Hard For Green Voters To Love Them
by Mark Winfield
The recent appearance in the province of Ontario of Premier Doug Ford’s anti-carbon pricing gas pump stickers…
Why Uncertainty Can Actually Boost Trust In Climate Science
Why Uncertainty Can Actually Boost Trust In Climate Science
by Melissa De Witte
The more specific climate scientists are about the uncertainties of global warming, the more the American public trusts…
Mayors Of 94 Cities Are Taking The Green New Deal Global, As States Fail To Act On Climate Crisis
Mayors Of 94 Cities Are Taking The Green New Deal Global, As States Fail To Act On Climate Crisis
by Simon Curtis
At the seventh World Mayor’s Summit in Copenhagen, leaders of 94 cities embraced a global Green New Deal, in an attempt…
Mr. Delay, Mr. Deny And Canada's Precarious Climate Change Future
Mr. Delay, Mr. Deny And Canada's Precarious Climate Change Future
by Mark Winfield
During the recent federal leaders’ debate, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer only distinguished himself on climate…
What Extinction Rebellion climate activists are demanding from governments
by Democracy Now!
More than 700 climate activists were arrested in 60 cities worldwide in a global effort aimed at urging governments to…
A Psychotherapist Explains Why Some Adults Are Reacting Badly To Young Climate Strikers
A Psychotherapist Explains Why Some Adults Are Reacting Badly To Young Climate Strikers
by Caroline Hickman
Young climate strikers I spoke to recently are confused and distressed about the things adults are doing.
Labour's Green New Deal Is Among The Most Radical In The World – But Can It Be Done By 2030?
Labour's Green New Deal Is Among The Most Radical In The World – But Can It Be Done By 2030?
by Michael Jacobs
The Labour Party conference has voted in favour of a Green New Deal. This is a triumph for the young activists who have…

LATEST VIDEOS

South Africans Are Feeling The Heat In More Ways Than One
by eNCA
Load-shedding combined with soaring temperatures are a bad combination.
Why Uncertainty Can Actually Boost Trust In Climate Science
Why Uncertainty Can Actually Boost Trust In Climate Science
by Melissa De Witte
The more specific climate scientists are about the uncertainties of global warming, the more the American public trusts…
How World Conflicts Are Influence By The Changing Climate
How World Conflicts Are Influence By The Changing Climate
by John Vidal
The relationship between a heating planet and violent clashes is complex — and critical. “This is where I keep my…
Emergency Medicine For Our Climate Fever
by Kelly Wanser
As we recklessly warm the planet by pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, some industrial emissions also…
What Extinction Rebellion climate activists are demanding from governments
by Democracy Now!
More than 700 climate activists were arrested in 60 cities worldwide in a global effort aimed at urging governments to…
Can Nature Repair The Planet From Climate Change?
by The Economist
A closer look at one of the most familiar responses offered to the climate crisis.
How Climate Change Is Threatening Homes In Mumbai
by South China Morning Post
Lowland cities and islands such as the Indian city of Mumbai may face increasingly frequent floods and storms
This is Not A Drill: 700+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Fights Climate Crisis With Direct Action
by Democracy Now!
More than 700 people have been arrested in civil disobedience actions as the group Extinction Rebellion kicked off two…

LATEST ARTICLES

How Divergent Goals Hinder The Fight Of The Climate Crisis
How Divergent Goals Hinder The Fight Of The Climate Crisis
by Pascale Dufour
Nearly half a million people demonstrated in Montréal to demand climate action on Sept. 27. It was one of the largest…
Why You Shouldn't Use
Why You Shouldn't Use "Weather" And "Climate" Interchangeably
by Jennifer Fitchett
As January 2019 entered its third week, huge swathes of the US are blanketed with snow, and winter storm warnings were…
South Africans Are Feeling The Heat In More Ways Than One
by eNCA
Load-shedding combined with soaring temperatures are a bad combination.
Iowa's Farmers – And American Eaters – Need A National Discussion On Transforming Us Agriculture
We Need A National Discussion On Transforming Agriculture
by Lisa Schulte Moore
Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses bring the state a lot of political attention during presidential election cycles.
Can We Deal With The Climate Crisis Without Having A Financial Chaos?
Can We Deal With The Climate Crisis Without Having A Financial Chaos?
by Geoff Dembicki
Communities face a tricky dilemma as climate changes: How to prepare for impacts without scaring away homeowners and…
Should Science Must Be Mobilized Like World War Ii To Fight The Climate Crisis
Should Science Must Be Mobilized Like World War Ii To Fight The Climate Crisis
by Tom Oliver
We’ve all but won the argument on climate change. The facts are now unequivocal and climate denialists are facing a…
The IEA Projects Global Renewable Energy Capacity to Rise by 50% in next 5 Years
The IEA Projects Global Renewable Energy Capacity to Rise by 50% in next 5 Years
by Jessica Corbett
However, the deployment of renewables "still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality,…
Evidence Shows Warming Forces World Of Ice Into Retreat
New Evidence Shows Warming Forces World Of Ice Into Retreat
by Tim Radford
New evidence from the air, space, atmospheric chemistry and old records is testament to global warming impacts on the…