Mexico: The General Law on Climate Change
The General Law on Climate Change (GLCC) is Mexico’s main legal instrument for climate change mitigation and adaptation. At the time of its endorsement in 2012 it represented a milestone in legal and regulatory development for the country, since it incorporated the institutionalization of former policies that the government had developed about climate change.
Mexico’s major policies on climate change and GHG emission reduction stem from its adherence to international conventions and protocols. Following Mexico’s role as host for the COP16 in 2010, and inspired by the UK’s Climate Change Act of 2008, former Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Senator Alberto Cárdenas, proposed a bill to establish GLCC with the support of 28 fellow senators. After negotiating with parties of the opposition and private stakeholders, and integrating seven different proposals, the bill was approved by the Senate in 2011 and sent to the Chamber of Deputies for its revision. Finally, it was signed in June of 2012 by then President Felipe Calderón, and Mexico became the second developing country with a law of this sort after South Korea.
Since its publication, the GLCC brought some positive results on the short term. Some examples are: the transformation of the National Institute of Ecology into a decentralized Institute of Ecology and Climate Change; the creation of different mechanisms for evaluation, participation and surveillance; the introduction of a National Fund for Climate Change; and the development of long and short term planning instruments like the National Strategy and Special Program on Climate Change. The Law has also been praised for its inclusion of different sectors and levels of the government, for updating national inventories on gas emissions, and for establishing an article that prevents the lessening of previously settled goals in new revisions or proposals by the country on GHG emission.
Since 2015, an official committee has been evaluating the performance of national policies on climate change and once they’re finished, they aim to issue recommendations to the Federal Government. So far, some of the criticisms of the Law are that it hasn’t succeeded on a state level, resulting in a lack of state planning on climate change, and its top-bottom approach that fails to include local groups and social participation.
Although almost all the Latin American countries have their own policies and institutions regarding climate change, Mexico’s GLCC could set an example for those that still lack their own framework laws, like Argentina, Chile or Uruguay.