Reduced Rainfall Is Affecting the Ability of Small-Scale Farmers to Sustain Their Livelihoods

This Post is focused on assessing Mexico’s climate change loss and damage, which aims to contribute to the Global Stocktake. The Paris Agreement’s ongoing UNFCCC-sponsored Global Stocktake makes an effort to assess the ability of the Agreement to meet its goals.

The last few years have increased extreme weather conditions affecting Mexico. Climate change has led to severe natural consequences for the country, including drought in various parts of the nation and high levels of acidity along its Pacific coasts, now considered some of the most acidified waters in the world.

Severe drought in Mexico has been a major repercussion due to climate change. As a result, the number of droughts is expected to increase by 2050. However, the drought is part of a more significant phenomenon throughout Latin America. Mexico’s drought occurred due to the weakness of the North American monsoon season and the cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures associated with La Niña, which was recorded in the eastern equatorial Pacific. La Niña is a rapid cold phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

In addition to drought, overfertilization of soils and the indiscriminate use of pesticides have contaminated the water, aquifers, air, and ground. Within the last decade, there has been more significant variability and a global reduction in rainfall, which has affected rainfed producers, generally subsistence farmers. It is estimated that by 2050, between 13% and 27% of the area planted with corn could be lost due to climate change.

Over the next ten years, transportation activity will continue to be the sector that produces the most Greenhouse Gases in Mexico, with around a quarter of the total. The country emitted 804 MtCO2e of Greenhouse Gases in 2020, representing about 1.3% of global emissions. If nothing is done, in the business-as-usual scenario, Mexico’s emissions are projected to reach 991 MtCO2e by 2030, +23% compared to 2020.

Climate change will have other impacts on Mexico. Between 2020 and 2100, the yearly average temperature might increase by 0.5 to 4.8 °C. The amount of precipitation each year may also decline by up to 15% in the winter and 5% in the summer.

This event can potentially increase the frequency and severity of hydrometeorological events, which are expected to have detrimental effects on human health, water and sewage systems, agriculture, road infrastructure, and energy infrastructure.

Mexico is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The country’s geographical, topographical, and hydrological location creates weak conditions for extreme hydrological or meteorological events. As a result, both ecosystems and people are particularly vulnerable to suffering significant damage from the consequences of climate change. If temperature changes exceed that of the ability of species to adjust, certain species may go extinct. Also, forests will be more vulnerable to fires, which might hasten the loss of environmental services.

Adaptation measures, particularly multi-hazard early warning systems, are not sufficiently developed in Mexico. Mexico must strengthen its capacity to adapt to the extreme climatic conditions it is increasingly facing. The country needs to reinforce climate adaptation policies to consolidate political commitment, enhance early warning systems with increased financial support, and aid risk management. Additionally, they should strengthen adaptation plans with operational meteorological, climate, and hydrological services.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Mexico Country Manager Pablo David Necoechea Porras 


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