Page last updated: 20th November 2013



Mexico pledged to reduce emissions by 30% below business as usual by 2020, conditional on international support. Mexico’s progress in policy planning and institution building over the past years has been remarkable. However, more action is needed to meet the ambitious emissions reduction target by 2020.



Pledge description

In its submission under the Copenhagen Accord, "Mexico aims at reducing its GHG emissions up to 30% with respect to the business as usual scenario by 2020, provided the provision of adequate financial and technological support from developed countries as part of a global agreement." President Felipe Calderón announced this target during the Copenhagen conference.

Mexico has a very detailed national plan up to 2012, which includes measures and their effects on emissions. Emission reductions up to 2012 as defined in the “Programa Especial de Cambio Climático 2008-2012” (PECC) (Special Programme on Climate Change) were a first unconditional step in national implementation. The plan was in line with an overall strategy to reduce emissions by 50% by 2050 compared to 2000 levels, which assumes moderate reductions in the early years and more ambitions reductions later.

With the General Law on Climate Change from 2012 and the National Climate Change Strategy published in June 2013, Mexico has confirmed these targets and made them binding on the national level, subject to international support. The National Climate Change Strategy includes a new BAU scenario, which replaces the one from the PECC, to which the pledge previously referred. The new scenario is higher than before, so the emission level resulting from the pledge was corrected upwards to 672 MtCO2e in 2020, up from 618 MtCO2e under the previous projection.

Current trend description

According to our assessment, Mexico’s current policies will lead to emissions of between 808 and 828 MtCO2e in 2020 and between 927 and 951 MtCO2e in 2030, including LULUCF.  Main policies are listed in Table 20.

Historically, emissions have been increasing more or less steadily since 1990. The focus has changed over time from agriculture and LULUCF, which represented almost 35% of emissions in 1990, to representing less than 19% in 2010, while the share of energy-related emissions has increased substantially.

The most significant policy is Mexico's General Law on Climate Change, which establishes a well worked out system of translating the overarching targets into strategies and plans, and provides the institutional framework for successful implementation. In itself the law does not include concrete political instruments, so it is not possible to quantify future effects.

The National Strategy on Climate Change (NSCC) published in June 2013 implements one of the requirements of the General Law. The NSCC is designed towards a long-term strategic development, but only provides very general guidance. How this will be translated to concrete action remains to be seen. The new Special Program on Climate Change (PECC 2013-2018) is currently under development.

There are however promising activities in Mexico. These include efficiency programmes in the energy sector (especially co-generation), the support for renewable electricity and solar thermal heating, a green mortgage programme in the building sector and forest conservation and reforestation programmes. These programmes are included in the current policy scenario.

Date of pledge
January 2010



With the 5th National Communication Mexico has provided a GHG inventory for all years between 1990 and 2010 (SEMARNAT, 2012) for the first time. The upper reference level is taken from the technical annex to Mexico’s National Climate Change Strategy from 2013 (Government of Mexico, 2013).

Current trend

We show the previous BAU from the PECC. For the current trend scenarios, we apply growth rates from the policy scenario of the Climate Action Tracker’s detailed country analysis from 2012 (Höhne et al. 2012) to historic emissions and as an alternative scenario use data from the 5th National Communication (SEMARNAT, 2012), assuming that the reductions achieved through the PECC in 2012 will remain stable until 2030.


Government of Mexico (2010). Mexico's pledge to the Copenhagen Accord. Compiled in: Compilation of information on nationally appropriate mitigation actions to be implemented by Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention, UNFCCC (2011)

Government of Mexico (2013). Estrategia Nacional de Cambio Climático. Visión 10-20-40. http://www.encc.gob.mx/documentos/estrategia-nacional-cambio-climatico.pdf

Höhne, N., et al. (2012). Assessment of Mexico's policies impacting its greenhouse gas emissions profile. Climate Action Tracker Mexico.

SEMARNAT (2012). Quinta Comunicación Nacional ante la Conveción Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climatico. Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. Mexico D.F.: SEMARNAT.

Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (2009). Programa especial de cambio climático 2008-2012. Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales  Mexico D.F.: SEMARNAT.