Refreshing winds of change from Mexico

Ministers failed to deliver climate action on Thursday and Friday, and the planet treated us to stifling heat yesterday in Bonn. Fortunately, a cooling breeze from Mexico has reached ECO to remind us that the warming can be stopped and that the heat in Bonn (and in the UNFCCC negotiations) can be reversed.

This breeze started off a few months ago in Mexico, as the government there published its Climate Change Special Program 2014-2018 that commits to unilaterally reduce emissions by 90 MT CO2e by 2018. Additionally, a 2018 Renewable Energy Special Program was agreed to, which sets a goal of increasing renewable energy’s share of electricity generation from the present 15% to 25% in 2018 and 35% in 2024. These renewable power increases would be coming from wind and solar.

Based on energy demand projections, this target actually represents a doubling of present renewable energy generation to 80 TWh per year. The monopolised electricity grid is opening up to more clean and distributed power by independent producers, and provides options for customers to specifically purchase renewables. There is a whisper floating around that there is more of this to come, and it must, especially if funding from the Green Climate Fund is made available to Mexico and if energy reforms are implemented sustainably. ECO, of course, acknowledges that all of these changes are based on the Climate Change General Law, which aims to reduce emissions in 2020 by 30% compared to projected business as usual levels, and by 50% below 2000 levels by 2050.

More than 50% of Mexico’s population is below the poverty line due to deep inequalities. Its per capita GDP is on par with the global average and per capita CO2 emissions are below the global average. Yet, Mexico is doing more to confront climate change than many wealthier nations because it realises that its own interest isto take action. This is a critical first step towards achieving the phase out of GHG emissions that Mexico called for in its intervention on Sunday in the ADP.

ECO pleads with Parties that they allow this fresh breeze into the ADP Workstream 2 engagements so that more Parties can be inspired to follow suit. If Mexico can achieve a 10% increase in the share of renewables in its electricity grid over the next four years, surely other high-emitting nations can do the same — or more — to close the pre-2020 emissions gap.

Just imagine how much more could be accomplished if wealthier countries ramped up their support for efforts like those being taken in Mexico and other developing countries. Developed countries need to harvest their own low-hanging fruit by stepping up energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment. Mexico is showing that we don’t need to let the heat build and build until 2020 – we can (and must) act now to stop the warming!

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