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 recent years has been remarkable, including the development of one of the world’s first climate laws in 2012. However, more action is needed to meet its ambitious 2020 emissions reduction target.
In its submission under the Copenhagen Accord, Mexico “aims at reducing its GHG emissions up to 30% with respect to the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario by 2020, provided the provision of adequate financial and technological support from developed countries as part of a global agreement." Former President Felipe Calderón announced this target during the Copenhagen conference.
Mexico has a detailed national plan up until 2018, which includes 28 mitigation measures and their effects on emissions. These measures are defined in the “Programa Especial de Cambio Climático 2014-2018” (PECC) (Special Programme on Climate Change). This programme is the follow up of the first PECC, which ran from 2008 - 2012. The first PECC was an initial unconditional step in national implementation, the second PECC confirms this step. The plan is accompanied by an overall strategy to reduce emissions by 50% by 2050 compared to 2000 levels, which assumes moderate reductions in the early years and more ambitious 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 at the national level, subject to international support. The National Climate Change Strategy includes a BAU scenario, which replaces the BAU scenario in the first PECC, to which the pledge previously referred. The new scenario is higher than before, so the emissions levels resulting from the pledge was corrected upwards by 8.7% to 672 MtCO2e in 2020, from 618 MtCO2e under the previous projection. The second PECC originally included an additional BAU with 2020 emissions levels different from the previous two. However, the Government withdrew this scenario due to its inconsistency with the climate strategy.
According to our assessment, Mexico’s current policies will lead to emissions of between 785 and 799 MtCO2e in 2020, a reduction of between16.8% and 18.2 % below BAU and between 820 and 888 MtCO2e in 2030, including LULUCF.
Historically, emissions have been increasing since 1990. GHG emissions have increasingly shifted away from agriculture and LULUCF towards energy-related emissions. While, in 1990, agricultural and LULUCF emissions represented almost 24% of Mexico’s GHG emissions, their share had declined by 2010 to 19%. In the same time period, energy-related emissions increased substantially - by more than 50%.
The basis for climate policy in Mexico is its ‘General Law on Climate Change’, which translates the overarching targets into strategies and plans, and provides the institutional framework for implementation. The law does not include concrete political instruments, rendering it impossible 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 2nd Special Program on Climate Change (PECC 2014-2018) published in 2014, includes the most relevant mitigation measures to 2018. The programme summarises 23 quantified mitigation-relevant measures that lead to a reduction in emissions by 83.2 MtCO2e in 2018 compared to the baseline. In addition the National renewable energy program (Government of Mexico 2014) was put forward in 2014, and includes indicative targets for RE development by technology for the years 2018 and 2024 of 22.81%, and 24.61% (Government of Mexico 2014) respectively.
With the 5th National Communication Mexico has, for the first time, provided a GHG inventory for all years between 1990 and 2010 (SEMARNAT, 2012). The upper reference level is taken from the technical annex to Mexico’s National Climate Change Strategy from 2013 (Government of Mexico, 2013).
Current policy projections
We show the BAU as reported in the National Climate Change Strategy from 2013 (Government of Mexico, 2013). The range for the current policy scenario is based on calculations around the PECC and the Renewable Energy Programme.
For the upper end of the emission range in 2020 we assumes that all measures under the PECC are implemented until 2018 but that no further reductions are achieved until 2020. This leads to a reduction of 16.8% % below BAU.
For the lower end of the range we assumes that additionally the RE targets as laid out in the Renewable Energy Programme are reached, assuming that the RE target in 2018 will be reached in 2020 (this allows 2 additional years for implementation). . This leads to a reduction of 18.2 % below BAU.
For the upper end of the emission range in 2030, we assume that, percentage-wise, reductions below BAU achieved through the measure in the PECC (see above) remain the same as in 2020.
For the lower end of the range we assume that that the 2024 target as laid out in the Renewable Energy Programme will be reached by 2030 (allowing 6 additional years for implementation). We have taken conservative assumptions on the RE target achievements as there are strong signals from the government that the Renewable Programme will be revised soon with unclear outcome.
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
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 (2014). Programa especial de cambio climático 2004-2018. Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Mexico D.F.: SEMARNAT.
Government of Mexico (2014). Programa Especial para el Aprovechamiento de Energias Renvoables. Mexico DF.: SENER.