- There are communities at-risk for climate change in each of Mexico’s 2,471 municipalities; 160 of these communities are considered most vulnerable
- 7 out of every 10 people are at-risk for the impact of climate change
- Mining firms (silver, mercury, and other minerals) inflict enormous environmental harm on at-risk populations
Climate justice is a term that refers to the moral implications of climate change. Applied ethics, research, and activism that use the term treat anthropogenic climate change as a moral, legal, and political concern rather than a solely environmental or physical one.
Lower-income people in insecure situations are less likely to have the resources or insurance coverage needed to recover from environmental disasters. As a result, they have a lower level of participation in climate change and environmental decision-making at the political or legal level.
There are 2,471 municipalities in Mexico, each with its marginalization index determined by the National Council of Population (CONAPO for short, in Spanish). This indicator considers educational attainment, housing conditions, income, and population density.
The World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimate that seven out of every ten people are at risk, with losses costing up to 71% of GDP. The National Institute for Climate Change (INECC in Spanish) classified 20% of Mexico’s municipalities as very high or highly vulnerable.
According to the National Atlas of Vulnerability to Climatic Change, Mexico has committed to reducing the risk of the 160 most vulnerable municipalities, reducing deforestation, and developing preventative and early warning mechanisms for extreme climate events.
Mexico is extremely sensitive to climate change’s effects. The country’s geographical, topographic, and hydrological location make it vulnerable to extreme meteorological occurrences and other natural disasters. As a result, ecosystems, and humans are particularly exposed to the effects of climate change.
In Mexico, Indigenous persons are predominantly concentrated in the south. The geographical areas of these ethnic groups have been identified as important research topics. Environmental justice research should pay special attention to actions that may have harmful consequences for these groups.
Mining is crucial to examine in relation to climate justice issues in the industrial sector because it generates enormous environmental harm. Mining is popular along the Pacific coast of Mexico’s northern and southern territories. Silver mines are more numerous inland, in Guerrero and Oaxaca, north and central Mexico. Mexico is one of the world’s top mineral producers. It is the world’s largest producer of silver and the second-most significant producer of mercury, and it is in the top 10 producers of practically every mineral. Unfortunately, mining firms frequently ignore or try to disguise the consequences of mining on local populations, despite its importance to countries’ economies worldwide. Pollution levels vary depending on the type of mining because the industry frequently uses highly polluting elements.
It is important to consider if Mexico has the resources needed to address the needs of at-risk populations. The General Climate Change Law, the National Climate Change Strategy, and the Special Climate Change Program oversee Mexico’s national climate change policy and determine whether the country has the resources required to meet the needs of at-risk communities. For example, the General Law on Climate Change states, among other things, that the national adaptation policy strives to reduce the effects of climate change on vulnerable societies and ecosystems while also increasing the resilience and resistance of natural and human systems.
The National Climate Change Strategy identifies three important adaptation objectives: 1) Increase the social sector’s resistance to the effects of climate change by reducing its vulnerability, 2) Reduce the susceptibility of strategic infrastructure and production systems to climate change effects and strengthen their resilience, and 3) Preserve ecosystems and the services they provide by conserving and using them responsibly.
However, Mexico’s current fossil-fuel-based approach is incompatible with the country’s mitigation targets and commitments to renewable energy. Therefore, it is imperative to prioritize clean energy and encourage the spread of renewable energy technology to meet Mexico’s environmental obligations and objectives. In addition, it is necessary to ensure that its energy policies are consistent with national climate goals and pledges, not just for the sake of the earth and future generations but also for public health and the well-being of at-risk populations.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Mexico Country Manager Pablo David Porras Necoechea