Climate Change in Mexico
Greenhouse gases (GHG) are emitted from natural sources such as volcanoes, oceans and vegetation but in recent decades they have drastically increased due to the massive change in anthropogenic life. In daily human activities, the use of fossil fuels, deforestation and livestock, among many others, increase the concentration of GHG (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and black carbon) in the atmosphere causing the rise of temperature in the Earth.
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that human beings face to, today. Its effects are demonstrated unevenly throughout the planet due to different types of climates, ecosystems, infrastructure, urbanization, economy and demographic concentration. To face it in global communities and national level, - substantial changes are necessary accordingly. Given the model generated by the Canadian Center for Climate Modeling and Analysis, the maximum temperature in northern Mexico could increase up to 6 degrees if the GHG emissions in the atmosphere are not stabilized; the average annual temperature in Mexico could also increase 4.8 ° - 5 ° C in the period 2020-2100.
Mexico currently emits 1.33% of GHG emissions globally; the country ranks 13th in the world in terms of total emissions and it is the second in Latin America after Brazil. The top ten countries produce 66% of global emissions but the atmosphere and climate change don´t have borders and it is necessary for each country to fulfill its commitments to mitigate and report on its greenhouse gas emissions.
Mexico has mitigation commitments for 2014-2030 and it is an example all over the world on Climate Change.
Treaties and international commitments
In 1979 the World Climate Conference was held for the first time, climate change was considered as a real threat to the deterioration of the planet and the lives of its inhabitants. A few years later, in 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its main function is to evaluate the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information, the potential impacts and the existing options for the mitigation and adaptation of Climate Change.
At the Earth Summit in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established and came into force in 1994. The first conference was held in Berlin, Germany, where it was agreed to stabilize the GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. To implement the agreements, the Kyoto Protocol was created, which came into force in 2005 and with this, the countries acquired specific commitments and a plan of actions until 2020. In 2010, the Cancun Agreements were adopted, where developed countries agreed to support developing countries to face climate change through climate financing schemes.
There is Paris Agreement within the framework of the UNFCCC, which came into force in 2016 where the countries establish measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The main objectives of the Paris Agreement are: i) Maintain the planet's temperature below 2°C by the end of this century ii) As of 2020, every five years countries will review their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) iii) from 2025, $100,000 million dollars will be allocated annually in climate finance for developing countries iv) Creating mechanisms for accountability to ensure compliance with the goals up to 2020 v) Adaptation is the central factor to help the most vulnerable countries.
National Communications (6th Communication)
The countries ,the members of the United Nations Framework Convention are committed to periodic review and reporting with transparent and detailed information on the generating GHG emissions and the different mitigation and adaptation actions to achieve the goal during the Convention and Paris Agreement.
So far, the developed countries of Annex I (41 countries), except for the United States, Ukraine, Turkey and Belarus have completed 7 evaluation reports and also developed new methodological guidelines for the generation of National Gas and Compound Emissions Inventories. of greenhouse effect (INEGYCEI).
Currently, Mexico is only country from Latin America has made the first six communications as a developing country, (1997, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2012 and November 2018), following the guidelines of the UNFCCC to inform its efforts to confront climate change according to a methodology.. The first (NC1) was reported by 151 countries, the second (NC2) by 133, the third (NC3) by 58, in the fourth (NC4) by 4 countries and the fifth evaluation was only delivered by Mexico. In this sixth cycle, the IPCCC will release three special reports (science, adaptation and vulnerability and mitigation), which include contexts of a new methodology to create greenhouse gas inventories and refine the existing guidelines in the 6th evaluation (AR6). It should be noted that this methodology is already included in the 6th communication that Mexico submitted in 2016 It was collaborative work of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with a coordination among government, academia, private sector, civil society organizations and other international cooperation agencies. The document has updated National Inventory of Greenhouse Gases and Compounds (INEGYCEI) during the period 2012 and 2017 in different sectors. In 2013-2017, Mexico has reduced 70.23 MtCO2e in 2013 baseline. In the transportation sector, Mexico intends to mitigate 9.7 MtCO2e from 2013 to2030.
The Sixth Communication includes topics such as climate finance, scientific articles, education policy, progress to achieve a low carbon economy, costs of climate change according to different scenarios, analysis of meteorological phenomena, blue carbon, climate change and health, indicators for the evaluation of the National Climate Change Policy and the identification of mitigation and adaptation measures and instruments such as the National Vulnerability Atlas.
According to the Sixth National Communication presented in September 2018 by the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, Mexico currently ranks 13th in the world in the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and the second in Latin America after Brazil. Worldwide, Mexico is responsible for emitting 1.33% of GHG worldwide.
National Atlas of Vulnerability of Climate Change
In Mexico, it has been identified that around 300 municipalities are highly vulnerable to climate change according to different criteria and a new platform powered by up-to-date official data and sources from National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), National Population Council (CONAPO), National Atlas of Risks, National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED), the Earth Observation Laboratory (LANOT) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The tool focuses on climate issues such as floods, droughts, hurricanes, mudslides, fires and vector diseases such as dengue that can be broken out in a country. . The Atlas shows the disaggregation of each component and gives recommendations to increase the capacity for adaptation.
IPCC experts say, "vulnerability to climate change is the degree of susceptibility or inability of a system to face the adverse effects of climate change and in particular, the variability of climate and extreme events." With the intention of creating a conceptual framework to evaluate and be able to measure vulnerability to Climate Change according to different criteria, the Climate Change Vulnerability Atlas (AVCC) was a tool that provides recommendations at the municipal, state or national level, showing current territorial and potential vulnerability according to 3 variables: exposure (character, magnitude and climate variation), sensitivity (degree of affectation due to climatic variability) and adaptive capacity (institutional resources that allow to trigger adaptation processes).
The indicators included in the Atlas are able to observe progress in the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Currently, the indicators are to evaluate the national climate change policy.
Projected and Determined Contribution at the National Level of Mexico (INDC)
The Nationally Projected and Determined Contributions (INDC) is a term used in which the states parties agreed to submit a plan of action for reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) to the UNFCCC (projected contributions in case of adopting a new agreement). The contribution of Mexico contains two components, one for mitigation and the other for adaptation. The mitigation component includes two types of measures: unconditionally the country can afford with their own resources and measures, based on requirement on the establishment of a new international climate change regime in which Mexico that can obtain additional resources and transfer effectively technology and mechanisms.
Figure 6. Projected Determined Contributions at the national level by sector in Mexico. Mitigation Commitments 2014 to 2030 - 1520 Million tons of CO2e.
According to the Projected Contributions in the National Level, it is estimated that by 2030, emissions from the transport sector will grow by 53% in the respect of emissions in 2013. By 2030 it is estimated that emissions from the transport sector will be 266 million tons of CO2e. The 93% of the gases emitted by the transport are from private cars, buses, cargo trucks, and motorcycles (as an example, it is shown a CO2 estimate by different type of transport that is not linked to the current emissions of Mexico).
Figure 7. Inventory of Greenhouse Gases in the Transportation Sector. Total GHG: 171 Mt of CO2e.
Figure 8. Emissions of carbon dioxide from passenger transport CO2 emissions per passenger and kilometer.
Unconditional sectoral measures
In the context of the Paris Agreement, Mexico accepted the unconditional international commitment to undertake mitigation measures to reduce 22% of its GHG emissions by 2030, which means reduction of around 1.520 million tons of carbon dioxide. The NDCs were integrated into 30 measures distributed in 8 economic sectors, according to a study that shows the methodology and costs to reach the mitigation goal for 2030. The cost of the 30 sectoral measures amounts, 126 billion USD (in 2014-2030).
The following sectors, with their respective 30 measures, support the commitment to reduce emissions and their participation is crucial for achieving goals: i) transportation ii) electricity iii) residential and commercial iv) oil and gas v) industrial vi) agriculture and livestock vii) waste viii) land use, land use change and forestry
Figure 7. National GHG emissions according to the trend scenario and unconditional goals
Sources: INECC, Government of the republic
Despite the relatively low contribution of its GHG emissions to global emissions (1.33%), Mexico has assumed its responsibility to the effects of climate change in international agreements, involving the creation and evolution of the Mexican institutional and legal framework for its adaptation and alignment to transversal public policies as foundation for compliance with the targeted goals in mitigation and adaptation commitments; For example, The enactment of the General Law on Climate Change (LGCC) supports the creation of the National System of Climate Change (SINACC) in addition to the actions established in the National Development Plan 2013-2018 (PND).
In 2012, Mexico was the first country that implemented the national legislation within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), drafting the General Law on Climate Change and becoming one of the pioneers at the international level in matters of legislative creation to reduce GHG emissions, regulate the national policy of mitigation and adaptation and prioritize strategic actions with the greatest potential to provide co-benefits of health and well-being for the population.
In 2018 the General Law on Climate Change (LGCC) was modified to fulfilled the Paris Agreement are established, incorporating the goal to limit the increase of the average temperature of the planet less than 2°C. It adopts Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) as an associated instrument in combination with the development of a transparency framework. The instrument considered evaluation reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to create and modify national policies, to reduce and compensate GHG emissions for civil aviation It establishes the mandate to generate a National Adaptation Program and develop early warning systems for extreme hydrometeorological phenomena. Also it creates the mandate to establish a gradual carbon market to promote GHG reduction, considering the goal of the reduction in 50% of reduction in the respect of 2000, by 2050.
The LGCC consolidates and empowers the institutions and instruments responsible for public policy on climate change, which include; The Inter-Secretariat Commission on Climate Change (CICC), the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), the Council of Climate Change (C3), the National Climate Change Strategy (ENCC), the Special Climate Change Program (PECC) 2014-2018 and the National Climate Change System (SINACC).
Evaluation of the National Climate Change Policy
According to articles 98 and 104 of the LGCC, once in two years, an evaluation of the National Climate Change Policy (PNCC) must be carried out to improve the design and processes to deal more efficiently with the challenges of the Climate Change in Mexico, that move towards a low carbon economy and decrease the vulnerability of the population. The Evaluation Coordination carried out this evaluation, in its first cycle (2014-2018) that created two strategic evaluations; the first was the Special Program on Climate Change (PECC) where its indicators were evaluated, and the second was the Transversal Annex of the Budget of Expenditures of the Federation in the matter of climate change (AT-CC). The latter is necessary for the fulfillment of the purposes of the PNCC.
Some of the recommendations of the Evaluation Coordination for this cycle are: i) establish a working group on the AT-CC to formulate mitigation criteria ii) keep the guidelines updated to formulate preliminary projects incorporating mitigation and adaptation criteria (Ministry of Finance and Public Credit) iii ) identify the goals that present lags in the implementation of the PECC iv) take into account the scope derived from the energy reform v) the legislative power must take into account strategically the sufficiency of resources and the climate change criteria under the approval of the budgetary programs vi) the indicators that don´t respond to the action of the PECC improve uncertainties Vii) lacks on well-defined budgets and a robust monitoring, reporting and verification system Viii) the congruence and linkage of the PECC with the AT-CC is limited Xix) SINACC has not participated in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the PECC.
The LGCC is considered as a instrument for planning the Climate Change policy; i) The National Strategy, ii) The Special Climate Change Program, iii) The National Adaptation Policy, iv) The contributions determined at the national level and the programs of the Federal entities.
In 2013, the National Vision Strategy 10-20-40 (ENCC) was presented. It is the medium- and long-term guiding instrument to face climate change. The ENCC is integrated by; i) national climate change policy, ii) adaptation to the effects of climate change and iii) mitigation, however, is not exhaustive. The pillars of the climate change policy are the creation of economic, financial and fiscal instruments, implementation of research and development for the strengthening of institutional capacities, implementation of a climate culture, implementation of a monitoring and evaluation network and strengthening strategic cooperation and international leadership. Adaptation focuses on reducing vulnerability and increasing the resilience of society, infrastructure and productive systems, together with the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems. Low emission is based on the acceleration of the energy transition towards clean energy sources, improvement in sustainable consumption, transiting to the sustainability of cities, improving agricultural and forestry practices, reducing emissions and promoting co-benefits to health and wellbeing.
At the federal level, the Special Climate Change Program 2014-2018 (PECC) establishes the objectives, strategies, actions and goals to address climate change by defining priorities in terms of adaptation, mitigation, research and assignment of responsibilities, coordination of actions and results. It is strongly linked to the National Development Program and the sectorial development programs of the secretaries of State.
Based on the National Inventory of Emissions of Gases and Greenhouse Compounds, the Contribution of Mexico is an instrument that helps us to understand which and where GHG emissions come from in Mexico to design and implement better public policies. The main greenhouse gases (GHG) are; i) carbon dioxide ii) methane (CH4) iv) nitrogen oxide (N2O) v) hydrofluorocarbons vi) perfluorocarbons vii) sulfur hexafluoride vii) black carbon.
The 2013, INEYCEF plans to convert aspirational commitments into mandatory targets. According to the National Inventory of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), issued by the INECC (2015) with information in 2013. Mexico emitted 665,304.62 Gg of CO2e,which represented 1.4% of global GHG emissions. Between 1999 and 2015, emissions in Mexico increased by 54%, with an annual growth rate of 1.7%. From 2010 to 2015 the TCMA decreased to 0.8%.
Figure 8. National GHG contribution by sector
Mexico is committed to developing and disseminating its inventory of anthropogenic GHGs emissions by sources and the absorption by sinks of all GHGs not controlled by the Montreal Protocol, using comparable methodologies that will have to be agreed by political parties. The inventory is prepared by the INECC. The emission of fossil fuel combustion emissions is estimated once of two years, the estimate of emissions other than the burning of emissions, except for those related to the change in land use, and the total estimated once in four years.. The update of the National Inventory of Emissions of Gases and Greenhouse Compounds (INEGYCEI) 1990-2015 will be part of the Sixth National Communication and the Second Biennial Update Report.
Figure 9. National Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2015
The Action plan for Climate Change (PEACC) includes; long-term planning of their objectives and actions aligned to the National Strategy and the Climate Change Program, scenarios and diagnoses of vulnerability and adaptation capacity, goals and actions for mitigation and adaptation, measures, reporting and verification.
The governments of the 32 states and some of the 2,457 municipalities in the country, in collaboration with the SEMARNAT and the INECC, are in different stages of elaboration and integration of the information of the categories of greenhouse gas emitting sources. The jurisdiction of government and the climate change programs, during the preparation in the state and municipal level, consistent with the National Climate Change Strategy and the Special Climate Change Program. The following table shows the dates of preparation of the State Plans of Action against Climate Change.
Table 2. State Action Plans for Climate Change
Aguascalientes In process
Baja California 2012
Baja California Sur 2012
Guerrero In process
Michoacán In process
Nuevo León 2010
Querétaro In process
Quintana Roo 2013
San Luis Potosí 2006
Sinaloa In process
Ciudad de México 2014
Confronting climate change in both adaptation and mitigation requires that institutions and effective instruments to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases and to increase the adaptive capacity of the country. The LGCC foresees the integration of a National System of Climate Change (SINACC) as the institutional arrangement to guarantee an effective coordination among government orders, the legislative power, the states and the municipalities. Their aim is to promote synergies to face together the vulnerability and risks of the country and establish the priority actions of mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
In addition, three institutions that are created under the LGCC are part of this System to ensure the participation of society and the technical support necessary to address the issue of climate change. These institutions are the Inter-ministerial Commission on Climate Change (CICC), the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC) and the Climate Change Council (C3). In addition to serving as a platform for actions at the national level, this System should contribute to strengthening the international climate regime and the leadership of Mexico in this field.
Figure 10. National System of Climate Change
The CICC is the permanent mechanism for coordinating actions among the dependencies of the Federal Public Administration on climate change. It is made up of 14 Secretariats of State: Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Ministry of the Navy (SEMAR), Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL), Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Secretariat of Energy (SENER), Ministry of Economy (SE), Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT), Ministry of Public Education (SEP), Ministry of Health (SSA), Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) and the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (SEDATU). It also has the participation of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
Among its functions are the following; i) promote the coordination of actions of agencies and entities of the federal public administration on climate change, ii) formulate and implement national policies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, ii) develop the criteria of comprehensiveness of public policies for application by the dependencies and entities of the centralized and parastatal Federal Public Administration.
The INECC is a research institute that coordinates and carries out studies and projects of scientific and technological research with academic, research, public or private institutions, national or foreign, in the matter of climate change. The evaluation of the national policy led the Evaluation Coordination and involved the head of INECC and six Social Counselors.
The Climate Change Council (C3) is a consultative body of the CICC and is composed of members from the social, private and academic sectors, with recognized merits and experience in climate change. Their functions are; i) advise the CICC and recommend the realization of studies, policies and actions, as well as set goals to face the adverse effects of climate change and ii) promote social participation, informed and responsible, through public consultations.
In terms of climate change, the Chamber of Senators and Deputies have committees that aims promoting laws or amendments to reduce GHG emissions and promote strategies for mitigation and adaptation. In the Chamber of Senators, the work is carried out by the Special Commission on Climate Change and the Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. In the Chamber of Deputies, there is a Commission on Climate Change and the Environment Commission.
In Mexico, the governments of the states and municipalities of the country have diverse attributions in the matter of climate change, which are summarized below;
• Federative entities: They are responsible for the preservation, restoration, sustainable management of ecosystems and water resources, prevention and attention to diseases derived from the effects of climate change, civil protection statutes, special management waste management, territorial management, planning and maintenance of infrastructure, guaranteeing food security, managing and administering local funds, designing and promoting the establishment of integral projects for the mitigation and application of incentives, promoting scientific and technological research and technology transfer, publishing and updating the state atlas of risk as well as to integrate, in collaboration with the INECC, the information of the categories of issuing sources of its jurisdiction, for its incorporation into the National Emissions Inventory and to integrate the state emission inventory.
• Municipalities: they must provide urban services, local ecological management and urban development, municipal solid waste management, procurement of public transport, conduct education and information campaigns, participate in the design and application of incentives and develop, in collaboration with INECC, the information of the categories of emitting sources originated in its territory, for its incorporation into the National Emissions Inventory.
The INECC is one of the most recent institutions of the Mexican State, in 2012 and the budget was assigned to operate the following year. Previously it was the National Institute of Ecology (INE) dissolved in 2011. Since its creation, the INECC budget has decreased to the average rate of 10.14%.
Figure 11. Budget of Branch 16 for INECC
Source: Expenditure Budget of the Federation
As of 2013, the Transversal Annex on Climate Change of the PEF integrates the budgetary programs aimed at mitigation and adaptation of the Federal Government as shown in the following figure.
Figure 12 Resources for adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change
Source: Budget of Expenditures of the Federation
The Climate Change Fund was created and will be operated with a technical committee made up of the Ministries of Finance and Public Credit, Economy, Governance, Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development, SEMARNAT and SAGARPA. It has the aim of attracting and channeling financial resources, constituted by the annual resources indicated in the PEF and the contributions of other public funds, contributions, payment of rights and benefits provided by Mexican law, donations of physical or moral persons, national or international, the contributions made governments of other countries and international organizations and the value of the certified emission reductions of projects implemented in the country that the fund voluntarily acquires in the market. However, the Fund has received very small and insufficient for the challenges that Mexico faces in the face of Climate Change, as shown in the following figure.
Figure 13. Income from the Climate Change Fund
Source: National Financier, Status of Results of Trust 80662 Climate Change Fund 2015, 2016, 2017 y 2018
In present, the scenario of trend inaction is not desirable. Economic growth was sustained by the same patterns of energy consumption and degradation of the natural capital of the country. It would require 143 billion dollars and represent the mitigation route, saving more than 17 billion dollars. The profitability of the projects inherent the measures differently, since the execution of some measures will invariably generate savings and another costs. In this sense, the sectors that show greater profitability are; electricity, transport, residential, commercial; the least profitable are oil, gas and land use change, as shown in the following figure. In the projection, over the 2014-2030 period, the average cost of mitigation derived from the CND scenario is already considered as a saving starting in 2020.
Figure 13. Average cost of mitigation and gross sector costs 2014-2030
Source: INECC, 2017
Specific recommendations from experts
1. Regulate methane gas leaks in the oil production chain. Continue efforts to locate these leaks at a national level.
2. In the General Forestry Law, a modification must be made since it does not allow the Acehúche (low forest) to regenerate and these lands that could be used for conservation are eventually allocated to agriculture.
3. Modify Article 27 of the Law on National Waters where only water is considered in its liquid phase and companies "bombard" the clouds to have liquid water.
4. Monitor the official standard to certify and analyze the places where the palm can be planted to produce palm oil.
5. Create the bases for the official standard of avocado plantations.
6. Emphasis on diffusion on the importance of conserving instead of restoring.
7. Currently, water concessions are offered for 30 years and climatic variability is not taken into account. It is necessary to analyze the above and reduce the concession time.
8. Review Article 24 of the Forestry Law regarding subsidies for forest frontiers.
9. According to UNEP's "Emissions Gap Report", 80-90% of coal bunkers need to remain in the subsoil; as well as 35% of oil reserves and 60% of gas reserves must also remain in the subsoil.
10. Review the Payment for Environmental Services Program that undergoes inconsistencies in government transitions.
11. In the Climate Change Vulnerability Atlas, it is necessary to include the indicator of the gender gap and climate migration due to gender.