Mexico Needs Better Policies to Address Climate Justice

Mexico Needs Better Policies to Address Climate Justice

Climate justice addresses the needs of those who are least responsible for climate change and often suffer the gravest of its consequences. People living in poverty or in precarious circumstances tend to have neither the resources nor the insurance coverage necessary to recover from environmental disasters. On top of that, such populations often receive an unequal share of disaster relief and recovery assistance. Additionally, they generally have less involvement in decision-making, political, and legal processes that relate to climate change and the natural environment. The term climate justice is used to frame global warming as an ethical and political issue, rather than one that is strictly environmental or physical in nature.

The issue of climate justice is of particular importance to Mexico since according to specialists of the National institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), the country is among the most vulnerable to climate change due to its geographical characteristics, socioeconomic conditions and the degree of susceptibility or incapacity to face its effects. Recent reports relate the increase in temperature with an increase in category 3+ cyclones and more severe droughts that have impacted approximately 90% of the territory.

According to the document Mitigation and Adaptation Commitments for Climate Change for the period 2020-2030, in Mexico between the years 2001 and 2013 about 2.5 million people were affected by a climate related phenomenon. Associated economic costs were approximately $15 billion US dollars.

In Mexico, an increase in temperatures and the reduction in rainfall are factors that will affect the ecosystems and species related to humid and fresh climates. Among the regions that will be most affected are the center plains, since many species will migrate to mountainous regions. The center and northeast regions are greatly affected by droughts and Mexico City and Hermosillo could be faced with a water crisis in the short run. Studies by the University of Notre Dame in the USA and the WWF Mexico show that the coastal zones in Mexican states like Quintana Roo and Yucatan are negatively impacted by the rise in water levels. This is a threat to the infrastructure in areas of significant tourism throughout the 11,000 km of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean

In Iztapalapa, the periphery of Mexico City, home to 1.8 million people, the lack of water is constant. Many of the dwellers there have decided to adopt the “rain harvest” program, which is promoted by the city government. They install rainfall reservoirs to help palliate water shortages. The reservoir units are installed by NGO Isla Urbana and paid for by the government with a cost of approx. $1,000 US dollars. During 2019 10,000 units were installed and 100,000 units are expected to be installed in the next six years.

The gap between rich and poor will widen since the latter will be the most affected and displaced, becoming climate migrants causing severe social problems for the country. Mexico has a total population of 127 million with about 80% living in urban areas and with 53.2% living below the national poverty line, a number that will increase due to climate change impacts. Furthermore, large urban populations live in informal settlements with poor housing and a lack of public services, making them highly vulnerable to climate risks such as floods, landslides or increased temperatures.

Organizations such as Climate Latino and WRI Mexico, suggest that there is still hope to address climate justice issues in Mexican cities. Better public policy is required to move forward in the transformation towards a sustainable economic model. They say an investment of $24 million is needed to build cities that can adapt to effects of climate change.

Activity Rating:  * Falling Behind

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Mexico’s current fossil fuel-based strategy is not compatible with the country’s mitigation goals and renewable energy commitments. We ask the current administration to make clean energy a priority and support the expansion of renewable energy technologies, furthering the country’s environmental commitments and goals. We ask the current government to ensure that its energy initiatives are consistent with national climate goals and commitments, not only for the betterment of the planet and future generations, but also for public health and the well-being of at-risk communities.


Contact Information:

Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources- Victor Manuel Toledo



Telephone: 54900900 Ext. 12000/12076/12001

Address: Ejercito Nacional 223,

Col. Anáhuac, Delegación Miguel Hidalgo,

Ciudad de México, México,

Z.C. 11320

Secretary of Energy- Rocío Nahle



Telephone: 50006000

Address: Insurgentes Sur 890,

Del Valle, Ciudad de México. C.P. 03100

Learn More

  • México, entre los países más vulnerables ante cambio climático

  • México, de los países más afectados por el cambio climático

  • Agua, el recurso más afectado en México por el cambio climático

  • CDMX apuesta a la ‘cosecha’ de lluvia ante escasez de agua

  • Razones económicas y sociales para que México fortalezca sus metas climáticas

  • Climate risk in Mexico: country risk profile

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Mexico Country Manager Patricia Prat

Picture source: Mexico News Daily

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