This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Mexico Country Manager Pablo David Necoechea Porras
The last few years have seen an increase in extreme weather conditions affecting Mexico. Climate change has led to a series of severe natural consequences for the country, including drought in various parts of the nation and acidity on its pacific coasts—some of the most acidified waters in the world.
One of the major repercussions of climate change in Mexico is severe drought. Mexico experienced episodes of drought recently in 2020 and 2021. The drought in Mexico was part of a larger phenomenon that took place all throughout Latin America. The weakness of the North American monsoon and the cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures associated with La Niña, recorded in the eastern equatorial Pacific, led to Mexico’s drought. La Niña is a rapid cold phase of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
Droughts across the Country have had severe ramifications in recent months, such as lowering river levels, diminishing crop yields and food production, and aggravating food poverty in many communities.
In 2020, the Caribbean’s sea surface temperature was so high it set a record of 0.87 °C above the 1981-2010 average, surpassing the previous maximum anomaly of 0.78 °C set in 2010. However, in the equatorial Pacific, sea surface temperatures cooled down.
Global warming’s effect on warming sea temperatures and ocean acidification are a major cause for concern. The consequences of ocean acidification on coral reefs have detrimental consequences for marine life and the human communities that depend upon them.
The Atlantic ocean’s warming contributed to a more active hurricane season than is typical. Between 2020 and 2021, occurrences of extreme weather in Mexico have included rising temperatures, changes in rainfall distribution, storms, and glacier retreats.
The General Climate Change Law, the National Climate Change Strategy, and the Special Climate Change Program govern Mexico’s national climate change policy. The General Law on Climate Change specifies, among other things, that the national adaptation policy aims to reduce society’s and ecosystems’ vulnerability to climate change’s consequences and increase natural and human systems’ resilience and resistance.
In terms of adaptation, the National Climate Change Strategy specifies three key objectives:
- Reduce vulnerability and increase the resilience of the social sector to climate change effects.
- Reduce vulnerability and increase the resilience of strategic infrastructure and production systems to climate change effects.
- Conserve and sustainably use ecosystems and maintain the environmental services they provide.
Mexico is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The country’s geographical, topographic, and hydrological location create vulnerable conditions for extreme hydrological or meteorological events. As a result, ecosystems, and people are particularly vulnerable to suffering significant damage from the consequences of climate change.
Adaptation measures, particularly multi-hazard early warning systems, are not sufficiently developed in Mexico. Mexico needs to strengthen its capacity to adapt to the extreme climatic conditions that it is increasingly facing. The country needs to reinforce climate adaptation policies to consolidate political commitment, strengthen early warning systems with increased financial support and aid risk management; additionally, they ought to strengthen adaptation plans with operational meteorological, climate, and hydrological services.
Current ability of the country to adapt to extreme weather conditions it faced in 2021:
Rating: *** Good
Four Stars (****): Outstanding
Three stars (***): Good
Two stars (**): Fair
One star (*): Unprepared
María Luisa Albores González, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources