Mexico

Overall rating
Critically insufficient
Policies & action
Highly insufficient
< 4°C World
Internationally supported target
Highly insufficient
< 4°C World
Fair share target
Critically insufficient
4°C+ World
Climate finance
Not assessed
Net zero target

year

N/A

Comprehensiveness not rated as

No target
Land use & forestry

historically considered a

Sink

Target Overview

Mexico submitted an updated NDC in November 2022, during COP27. The submission includes an unconditional emissions reduction target from BAU by up to 35% in 2030 for all greenhouse gases – up from a previous 22% emissions reduction target (Gobierno de México, 2022). It specifies that 30% of the reduction is to be achieved with own resources and the additional 5% with already agreed international cooperation and finance for ‘clean energies1’. The NDC update also includes a climate target conditional to international support to reduced up to 40% emissions from BAU in 2030.

The NDC update includes 2030 targets only and does not mention updates to the mid-century strategy from 20162, a net zero target, nor any other long-term target. The update also explicitly removes the target to peak emissions in 2026.

The 2020 NDC update was revoked in 2021 as the targets were less ambitious and less transparent than the original 2016 NDC (Gobierno de Mexico, 2020; Poder Judicial de la Federación, 2021). Already then, the BAU had been revised upwards and Mexico was using creative accounting in the BAU and target which led to higher absolute emissions levels.

The recent NDC update includes a BAU baseline that has been revised upwards in comparison to its 2016 NDC and is very similar to the (no longer valid) 2022 NDC update. This update is also less transparent as it excludes the expected contribution of each sector to the achievement of the targets and it includes emissions but excludes absorptions from forestry for the BAU. Sinks, however, can be counted for achieving the target: this “gross-net” approach means that the targets require less action in other sectors.

While the text mentions a number of measures in all sectors, it does not include any of the expected emissions reduction from these measures nor the total expected contribution from each sector.

As a consequence of the higher BAU and creative accounting, we estimate that Mexico’s updated 2030 climate targets are less ambitious when expressed as an absolute emissions limit than those submitted in 2016. Despite submitting an NDC update in 2020, it was revoked in 2021 on the grounds of being less ambitious as the original 2016 NDC, breaching the Paris Agreement and Mexican law. We therefore do not compare this update against the 2020 NDC update, instead comparing it against the 2016 NDC. To increase the transparency of the targets, Mexico could opt to present its climate commitments as an absolute emissions limit instead of making them dependent on a shifting baseline scenario.

To assess the targets in the absence of sectoral contributions – most prominently the forestry sector – we have calculated the absolute emissions level of the targets as a range where we consider the same level of emissions and sinks of that of the BAU baseline for the lower end and the historical emissions from the BAU baseline, 2013, for the upper end (see figure below). For further details please see the Assumptions section.

Based on these assumptions, we estimate Mexico’s proposed unconditional NDC excluding the contribution of the forestry sector as not exceeding 786 – 863 MtCO2e in 2030, and its target conditional on international support as 689 – 766 MtCO2e in the same year. We rate Mexico’s proposed 2030 unconditional NDC target as “Critically insufficient” when compared with its fair-share contribution to climate action, and its conditional NDC target as “Highly insufficient” when compared to modelled domestic emissions pathways.

1 Mexico includes electricity generation through fossil gas efficient cogeneration of as part of its definition of ‘clean energies’.
2 Mexico’s Mid-century strategy from 2016 outlines the intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2050 below 2000 levels (Government of Mexico, 2016). We do not consider this as a “net-zero target” and will re-assess our analysis of this target once there is more clarity.

MEXICO — Main climate targets
2030 unconditional NDC target
Formulation of announced NDC target Up to 35% GHG below BAU by 2030, where 30% is to be achieved with own resources and the additional 5% with “agreed international support and cooperation for clean energies”.

51% reduction of black carbon below BAU by 2030.

Note: Here we only consider the 30% percentage to be achieved with own resources.
Absolute emissions level in 2030 
excl. LULUCF
Level of emissions to be achieved at home with own resources (domestic target):
786–863 MtCO2e
[72–89% above 1990]
[11–22% above 2010]
Status Submitted November 17, 2022
2030 conditional NDC target
Formulation of announced target in NDC Up to 40% GHG, 70% black carbon, below a BAU baseline by 2030.
Absolute emissions level in 2030 
excl. LULUCF
Level of emissions to be achieved with international support (internationally supported target):
689–766 MtCO2e
[51-67% above 1990]
[2% below – 9% above 2010]
Status Submitted November 17, 2022
Net zero & other long-term targets
Formulation of target Mexico has no long-term climate targets

Note: We no longer consider Mexico’s mid-century strategy to be valid. As part of the court’s ruling revoking the 2020 NDC targets and reinstating the 2016 NDC, Mexico’s 2050 target from its Mid-Century Strategy was also reinstated. We will re-assess our evaluation of this target after there is more clarity.
Absolute emissions level in 2050 
excl. LULUCF
-
Status -

Black Carbon and Mexico’s NDC

Mexico’s NDC includes unconditional and conditional targets 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.

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%.


Mexico has updated its NDC, and proposes to commit to unconditionally reduce its emissions by up to 35% below a BAU baseline scenario by 2030 (30% with its own resources and an additional 5% with agreed international support and cooperation for ‘clean energies’) and up to 40% below the same baseline, conditional on receiving financial, technical and capacity building support (Gobierno de México, 2022).

Given that 5% of the unconditional target will be achieved with international support, we have quantified a reduction of 30% below BAU in 2030 as the unconditional target.

While at first glance, this update may be seen as an improvement from the 2016 NDC and the 2020 update (where Mexico committed to an unconditional 22% reduction below BAU in 2030 and a 36% reduction conditional to international support), we find the new targets are less ambitious than 2016 when estimating the absolute emissions level without the contribution of the forestry sector in 2030 (the CAT standard).

Because the 2020 update was less ambitious and in breach of the Paris Agreement and Mexican law, it was revoked by a judge in 2021 (Poder Judicial de la Federación, 2021). Since the 2020 NDC update is no longer valid in the Mexican context, we compare the 2022 NDC targets to the original 2016 NDC, which was reinstated by a judge in 2021.

The updated NDC targets result in a higher absolute emissions level than the 2016 targets, mainly for two reasons:

  1. The BAU baseline has been revised upwards.
  2. The potential contribution of sinks from LULUCF has substantially increased. In the 2016 NDC, the sink was estimated as 14 MtCO2 in 2030 as part of the target, while the baseline now already states a sink of 158 MtCO2, and the fact that the land-use sector is “central” to the NDC, it can be expected this would further increase under a scenario with policies. The updated NDC does not provide a clear number for the sinks under a target pathway. In comparison, the 2016 NDC included a sectoral breakdown of the expected contributions to achieve the target.

The updated NDC explicitly removes the previous target to peak emissions in 2026. The reason being that it was never binding as it was included under the ‘intended Nationally Determined Contribution’ and that parties agreed afterwards that developing countries would aim to peak as early as possible without specifying the year. It also mentions the COVID-19 pandemic, and that determining an emissions trend will require further analysis to be undertaken during the update of the Long-Term National Strategy.

Mexico had submitted in 2020 an NDC update with the same percentage reductions below BAU as the original 2016 NDC, but with a higher BAU baseline and less transparency on the sectoral contributions to the target (Gobierno de Mexico, 2020). Back then, we had estimated the absolute emissions level of the targets as less as higher than previously making the targets less ambitious.

In 2021, after civil society won an ‘amparo’ lawsuit (under the constitution) against the lack of ambition of Mexico’s December 2020 updated NDC, a judge reinstated Mexico’s original 2016 climate targets. The reason for this decision was that Mexico’s updated climate commitments, albeit unchanged in terms of reduction percentages, resulted in a higher emissions level due to an upward revision of the baseline. It also was less transparent than the original and excluded the target of peak emissions in 2026. The court also reinstated the 2050 goal from Mexico’s Mid-Century Strategy.

Like previous submissions, the 2022 NDC update also includes targets to reduce black carbon by 51% unconditionally below BAU in 2030 and up to 70% conditional on international support in the same year. It also presents an adaptation component.

For further details on the calculations, please see the Assumptions section.

MEXICO — History of NDC updates First NDC (2015) 2020 NDC update (no longer valid) 2022 NDC update
1.5°C compatible


Stronger target N/A

Economy-wide coverage


Fixed/absolute target




Comparison table

MEXICO First NDC (2015) 2020 NDC update (no longer valid) 2022 NDC update
Formulation of target in NDC Unconditional target:
Reductions of 22% of GHG emissions and 51% of black carbon emissions by 2030 from a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario.








Conditional target:
Reductions of up to 36% of GHG emissions and 70% black carbon emissions by 2030 from a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario.
Unconditional target:
No change in % reduction target but BAU revised upwards.











Conditional target:
No change in % reduction target but BAU revised upwards.




NOTE: This NDC is no longer valid after a court reinstated the 2016 NDC.
Unconditional target:
Reductions of up to 35% of GHG emissions (30% with own resources, and additionally 5% with agreed international support for clean energies) and 51% of black carbon by 2030 from a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario.
BAU revised upwards from 2016, similar to 2020 update.


Conditional target:
Reductions of up to 40% of GHG emissions and 70% of black carbon by 2030 from an unspecified baseline scenario.

NOTE: We include only 30% reduction from BAU as the unconditional target as this will be achieved with own resources.
Absolute emissions level
excl. LULUCF
Unconditional target:
757 MtCO2e by 2030


Conditional target:
621 MtCO2e by 2030
Unconditional target*:
863–940 MtCO2e by 2030

Conditional target*:
728–805 MtCO2e by 2030
Unconditional target:
786–863 MtCO2e by 2030

Conditional target:
689–766 MtCO2e by 2030
Emissions compared to 1990 and 2010
excl. LULUCF
Unconditional target:
65% above 1990 emissions by 2030
7% above 2010 emissions by 2030

Conditional target:
36% above 1990 emissions by 2030
12% below 2010 emissions by 2030
Unconditional target*:
89–105% above 1990 emissions by 2030
22–33% above 2010 emissions by 2030

Conditional target*:
59–75% above 1990 emissions by 2030
3–14% above 2010 emissions by 2030
Unconditional target:
72–89% above 1990 emissions by 2030
11–22% above 2010 emissions by 2030

Conditional target:
51–67% above 1990 emissions by 2030
2% below – 9% above 2010 emissions by 2030
CAT rating Internationally supported target (conditional):
Insufficient

Fair share target (unconditional):
Critically Insufficient
Internationally supported target (conditional):
Highly Insufficient

Fair share target (unconditional):
Critically Insufficient
Internationally supported target (conditional):
Highly Insufficient

Fair share target (unconditional):
Critically Insufficient
Sector coverage Economy-wide Economy-wide Economy-wide
Separate target for LULUCF No No No
Gas coverage CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, and black carbon CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, and black carbon CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, and black carbon
Target type Emissions reduction from BAU Emissions reduction from BAU Emissions reduction from BAU
Explanation why the target is a fair contribution towards the global goal Yes, the text mentions it is fair because it includes for the first time
an unconditional GHG mitigation commitment and a reduction of Black Carbon.

The NDC reflects the government efforts to establish synergies between
adaptation and mitigation to not only tackle global warming but also reduce
social and ecosystem vulnerability.

The NDC also includes transformational investments to change patterns of
production and consumption and achieve peak net emissions within the
commitment period.
Yes, the NDC text mentions it is a “great national effort and represents the highest level of ambition possible under the current national circumstances”. Yes, the NDC text mentions it is “just and ambitious at the same time that it requires promote structural changes in all sectors and mobilize more than 185 thousand million USD”.

The text also mentions that the conditional target is in line with what the IPCC shows to be 1.5°C aligned.
Followed guidance in Decision 4/CMA.1 on target transparency Not applicable Yes Yes

*We have re-calculated the absolute emissions level of the 2020 NDC using the same assumptions on the contribution of the forestry sector, and thus the numbers in the table vary from previous updates. This leads to even higher emissions than originally estimated for both unconditional and conditional targets. The rating of the unconditional 2020 NDC worsens by one category from “Insufficient” to “Highly insufficient”.

CAT rating of targets

The CAT rates Mexico’s internationally supported target as “Highly insufficient” and its fair share target as “Critically insufficient”.

Internationally supported target:
Highly insufficient

We rate Mexico’s conditional 2030 reduction target levels as “Highly insufficient” when compared to modelled emissions pathways. The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Mexico’s fair share target in 2030 is not at all consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit. Mexico’s target is not in line with any interpretation of a fair approach to meeting the 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Mexico’s approach, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C. Our rating system suggests that Mexico should receive limited international support to get on a 1.5°C compatible pathway.

Fair share target:
Critically insufficient

We rate Mexico’s 2030 NDC target as “Critically insufficient” when compared with its fair-share contribution to climate action. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Mexico’s fair share target in 2030 reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit. Mexico’s target is not in line with any interpretation of a fair approach to meeting the 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Mexico’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.

Further information on how the CAT rates countries (against modelled pathways and fair share) can be found here .

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