Mexico has Good New Policies, But Data on Impact is Missing

Climate Progress in the First Half of 2003

B Rating

Data about CO2 and other GHG emissions in Mexico for 2023 is unavailable. Databases from the World Bank, Global Carbon Budget, and national organizations such as INEGI were reviewed. There is no expected date for its publication, considering that data for 2022 is also unavailable. Collecting data on emissions by country is a slow process, and data for 2023 is not expected to be available until 2024.

However, a balance can be made between the advances in energy and environmental policies that can give us a perspective of the current situation and the trend in emissions based on the available data and future perspectives.

First, it should be noted that the trend of total CO2 emissions in Mexico in the last 20 years has been downward, as we can see in the graph made with data from the World Bank.

According to a Greenpeace report, Mexico has the highest CO2 emissions, ranking 171 out of 184 countries. However, the downward trend must be emphasized since emissions decreased in 2021 compared to previous years.

According to a report by SENER (Secretary of Energy) published in 2022, Mexico ranks 109 out of 206 countries in per capita emissions in the electricity industry, 0.84 tons per inhabitant.

It is essential to highlight that Mexico has evaluation programs of the General Climate Change Law approved in 2012, such as the Evaluation of the National Climate Change Policy and the evaluation of the Special Climate Change Program (PECC), whose latest reports were published in 2018 and identified deficiencies in meeting climate objectives and in the cohesion of institutions. However, since then, more mitigation measures have been developed. It is worth asking how the policies and programs being applied in the country can impact emissions.

In 2023, Mexico started trading carbon credits. These are Certificates of Reduced Emissions (CER). Each CER is equivalent to one ton of CO2 that is no longer emitted into the atmosphere, directly or indirectly. Although it is difficult for sectors such as the automotive or food industries to reduce emissions, they offset these emissions by purchasing CERs, which are indirectly reduced in other sectors.

Since 2023, industries and companies within the regulated and mandatory carbon market must pay a tax on carbon emissions to finance projects that reduce emissions. Within the voluntary carbon market are sustainable agricultural producers that capture methane in Jalisco and Yucatán, wind farms in Oaxaca, solar parks in Baja California, reforestation in the jungle of Chiapas; or recovery, burning and use of biogas in the sanitary landfill in León (Guanajuato), State of Mexico, Durango, Aguascalientes and Ciudad Juárez, among others. The carbon market initiative allows flexibility to different sectors to reduce emissions and is considered adequate, sustainable, and globally applicable.

In March 2023, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources updated the National Emissions Registry (RENE), through which companies and industries must report their emissions, provided they are equal to or greater than 25,000 t of CO2e per year. The Emissions Calculator was also updated, a spreadsheet that notes emissions by sector and subsector for CO2, CH4, and N2O. This annual report makes those companies and industries, in general, more committed to reducing emissions, and it is a simple and replicable tool.

An initiative of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC) is the Portal of Indicators of Energy Efficiency and Vehicle Emissions, considering that the vehicle sector is the one that generates the most GHG emissions. Information is provided about the emissions of the different car brands, applying a rating. This allows consumers to choose fewer polluting vehicles.

Mexico’s climate goals for 2030 have been updated and intensified since they changed from a reduction of 22% to 35% by 2030. The “Sembrando Vida” program increased its budget in 2023, intending to mitigate emissions of 4 million tons of CO2 annually. However, there are still no monitoring and evaluation systems for compliance. Regarding transportation, it is necessary to replace the vehicle fleet with electric vehicles so that by 2030 these are 50% of the total; however, no policies encourage investment in them. It is also intended to increase the generation of renewable energy to reach 40 GW, although no active actions allow us to be positive in achieving this goal. Monitoring these proposals to determine if they are fulfilled throughout the year is necessary.

On a local scale, the actions undertaken in Querétaro to reduce the carbon footprint stand out, such as applying an expensive environmental tax and various environmental projects. In Mexico City, the Environmental and Climate Change Program is obtaining favorable results, reducing 2 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, exceeding the proposed goal.

In 2022, Mexico ranked 13th among the G-20 countries in terms of improvement in climate change mitigation. Therefore, it has been an improvement, although no country presents optimal policies that allow them to achieve the objectives projected for 2030. Considering the trends in emissions and the actions described, Mexico’s progress in reducing emissions can be regarded as moderate, for which I give it a B rating. The country has many aspects to improve, but the efforts are significant, and it is considered that they are on the right track, although the measures should be intensified.


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


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