Pledges And Targets
*based on CAT calculations.
Paris Agreement targets
On 21 September 2016, Mexico ratified the Paris Agreement and its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) became its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The government is expected to submit an ‘updated’ NDC to the UNFCCC later this year; however, according to public consultations held in the first half of the year, the 2030 targets will remain unchanged from the original 2016 target, which the CAT rates as ‘Insufficient’ (SEMARNAT, 2020b).
Mexico’s failure to increase its 2030 mitigation ambition is contrary to the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each successive NDC should present a progression on their mitigation efforts. This sends negative signals to the international community that Mexico is not serious about its commitment to fulfil the Paris Agreement climate goals and that it does not understand that a fair contribution requires higher emission reduction rates.
Mexico’s current NDC target aims to unconditionally reduce GHG emissions in 2030 by 22% below its baseline; and to increase this reduction to up to 36% by 2030, if certain conditions are met (a global agreement addressing international carbon pricing, carbon border adjustments, technical cooperation, access to low cost financial resources and technology transfer). The Spanish version of the NDC includes absolute numbers as to what the economy-wide unconditional target means in terms of emissions in 2030, as well as sector-level mitigation goals (Government of Mexico, 2015). The conditional target is only referred to as a 36% below BAU by 2030, without sectoral split of the emissions reduction. The NDC covers all gases and sources, including land use change and forestry.
The 2016 submission also included an adaptation component as well as a target to reduce black carbon (BC) between 51%-70% below BAU. Given that reductions in BC are generally not additional to those in CO2 emissions, we do not quantify the additionality of the BC target (see box below on BC for more details).
Mexico’s current NDC reports emissions levels in 2030 for baseline and unconditional target using Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5). After converting these to GWPs of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), the emissions levels for 2030 are:
- Baseline scenario: 955.7 MtCO2e incl. LULUCF and 924.3 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF
- Unconditional target: 749.2 MtCO2e incl. LULUCF and 763 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF
- Conditional target: 611.7 MtCO2e incl. LULUCF and 625.4 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF
Along with the 2030 target, Mexico mentions in its NDC “a net emissions peak starting from 2026.” However, there is no further detail on the emissions level expected for this peak. See assumptions for further details.
Black Carbon and Mexico’s NDC
Mexico’s NDC includes a target to reduce black carbon (BC) emissions, which has substantial co-benefits for human health. However, reductions in black carbon are generally not additional to reductions in CO2 emissions, because large fractions of black-carbon emissions stem from the same emission sources as CO2. Emissions reduction policies therefore often reduce CO2 and black carbon simultaneously, and this is already included in calculations of the emissions reductions in greenhouse gases required to hold warming well below 2°C globally, such as the “emissions gap” and “fair share” reductions (see next section on Fair Share).
From the climate perspective, however, there is no established scientific method to compare the climate benefits of black-carbon reductions to those of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. In the AR5, the IPCC does not provide calculations of GWP for BC comparable to those provided for greenhouse gases, merely noting the inherent difficulties in doing so and limiting itself to just displaying estimates from the pre-AR5 literature. While Mexico’s NDC specifies a metric to compare BC with CO2 (GWP of 900), this is based on a single literature source (pre-dating IPCC AR5), which itself notes the very large uncertainties of around 100%.
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, subject to the provision of adequate financial and technological support from developed countries as part of a global agreement." Currently implemented policies are not projected to meet this target.
According to our calculations, Mexico’s pledge translates to 630.2 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF by 2020; however, Mexico’s emissions excl. LULUCF in 2017 were already reported at 725 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF, significantly over the 2020 pledge levels. Thus, we predict Mexico will most likely not achieve its 2020 pledge, despite the expected dip in emissions due to the COVID19 pandemic.
In November 2016, Mexico submitted its “Climate Change Mid-Century Strategy” to the UNFCCC in accordance with the Paris Agreement (Government of Mexico, 2016). With this strategy, Mexico pledges to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 50% below 2000 levels in 2050, leading to emissions levels of between 276 – 321 MtCO2e excluding LULUCF, by 2050. See Assumptions section for more details.