Mexico’s Social, Economic And Geographical Characteristics Make The Country Highly Vulnerable To The Negative Impacts Of Climate Change

Spotlight Activity: Mexico’s Social, Economic And Geographical Characteristics Make The Country Highly Vulnerable To The Negative Impacts Of Climate Change

Mexico has a high vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change due to its social, economic and geographical characteristics. Its location between two oceans and its latitude and topography expose the country to a plethora of hydrometeorological phenomena.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT as in Spanish), Mexico is vulnerable in different sectors such as: 

15% of the national territory 

71% of the national economy 

30% of urban population and infrastructure

16% of medical units

46% of energy infrastructure

Furthermore, the National Institute of Climate Change and Ecology (INECC) estimates that around 1,385 municipalities in Mexico are vulnerable to climate events like floods, landslides, agricultural droughts, heat waves, and disease transmission and that at least 68% of the population has been affected by natural disasters. The most exposed sector to climate change impacts are vulnerable groups, such as lower-income households, which, in addition, often inhabit places like mountains or slopes, where the impacts of weather events are greater. Moreover, half of the country’s population lives in poverty and most of the time these people are mainly part of indigenous groups. People who live in the mountains usually don’t have access to basic services and they are not familiar with actions to protect or adapt to climate change. In rainy seasons, the strong precipitations cause landslides which result in loss and damage of houses, goods, crops and even lost lives. This is a clear example of the necessity of having territorial planning with a climate change component, mainly in the most vulnerable zones in the country. 

Beyond considering climate change exposure as a public problem, it must be considered as a national security matter, as it involves loss of national territory and strategic infrastructure, loss and damage of people’s houses and goods and even the generation of conflicts over the distribution and access to resources.

Status: Standing Still

Although Mexico has made big efforts in addressing climate change adaptation through national policy and planning, this has not been reflected in benefiting the most vulnerable population groups. The country’s government has developed two useful tools for addressing these problems: 1) The National Risk Atlas from the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI) 2) and the National Vulnerability to Climate Change Atlas form INECC. However, these tools are working separately as they come from different institutions. There must be planning coordination among these instruments and  government institutions to ensure that Mexico is prepared to face and adapt to climate change and reduce its vulnerability, mainly in the poorest and most exposed communities. 

Take Action

Mexico has made really good progress on its national legislation and plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change. However, this has not been reflected in the reduction of national GHG emissions or in alleviating the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable population groups.

There must be a coordination to develop policies and action lines which incorporate mitigation and adaptation strategies, to strengthen capacities to respond to the needs of vulnerable populations, and, above all, to inform the people who usually don’t have access to climate change information, about actions to prevent the occurrence of disasters and reduce their vulnerability.

Send Action Alert Message to:

Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources- Josefa González Blanco



Telephone: 54900900 Ext. 12000/12076/12001

Address: Ejercito Nacional 223,

Col. Anáhuac, Delegación Miguel Hidalgo,

Ciudad de México, México,

Z.C. 11320

Director of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change- Amparo Martínez Arroyo



Director of Inventories and GHG Perspectives- Irma Fabiola Ramírez Hernández



Learn more: 

Climate Change Special Program 2014-2018:

National Risk Atlas from the National Institute of Geography and Statistics:

National Vulnerability to Climate Change Atlas:

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