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Mexico—Falling Behind

Mexico has had continuous participation in the international climate change arena since the UNFCCC was established back in 1993. However, one can question whether Mexico’s engagement at the international level has translated into effective climate change policy.

In ‘Not on the “Paris Track”: Climate Protection Efforts in Developing Countries’, authors Jann Lay and Sebastian Renner stress that Mexico’s ambitious INDC pledge to the Paris Agreement has not resulted in effective government action. They highlight that although Mexico has stopped investing in further coal plants, it is relying on gas reserves to serve the increasing energy demands that are expected for future decades. The introduction by the government of energy taxes has been deemed, “too small to make any measurable difference to emissions”.

In the book, 21 visions of the COP21 by Norma Patricia Muñoz Sevilla, Isaac Azuz-Adeath, and Maxime Le Bail, the authors address adaptation measures in the chapter, National policy on adaptation and the Paris Agreement. In this chapter, the authors explain that incorporating adaptation measures to the Paris Agreement is a milestone, but implementing them in Mexico will be a challenge for a number of reasons. Focusing on coastal areas, they highlight some of the following barriers: lack of funding, limited technical and planning capacities, disconnection among different governmental institutions and other sectors, political conflicts associated with the party affiliation of governors and decision makers, among others.

Mexico’s INDCs have received “medium” ratings both from Climate Action Tracker and the Citizens Climate Agreement Campaign, reflecting their ambitious character and problems related to achieving them. Important issues to highlight are the lack of a pledge towards 100% renewable energy, low support for investments in renewable energy, as well as the absence of a cross-sectoral effort to implement environmental policy. The Transport, Energy and Agricultural sectors seem to be working independently of what the Ministry of Environment is trying to achieve.

Overall, Mexico is backsliding in relation to its agreement to implement the Paris Agreement. Mexico’s economic development plans clash with its written commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to future climate scenarios. The challenges remaining, including a broad range of political conditions that affect the country, are preventing it from effectively implementing the actions needed not only to meet its intended contributions but also to undertake a truly transformative program that tackles climate change.

Learn More

Article: Not on the “Paris Track”: Climate Protection Efforts in Developing Countries (December 2016)
Book Chapter: National policy on adaptation and the Paris Agreement (Política nacional de adaptación ante el Acuerdo de París) (2016): Chapter XI pp. 173-185
Climate Action Tracker. Mexico:
Top 25 Greenhouse Gas Emitting Countries’ Paris Agreement Pledges (with rating):
Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN): “Camino a la implementación de las Contribuciones Nacionales” (In Spanish):


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