Watching the UNFCCC process from afar, one may well feel that the world is trying to address its carbon addiction by developing a new addiction to endless agenda fights. While many of the countries most responsible for climate change provide excuse upon excuse for woefully inadequate mitigation action, others are putting their shoulders to the wheel and getting on with saving our planet.
On this occasion, ECO wants to celebrate the approval of the Climate Change Law in Mexico, which represents not only an important step for the country, but a clear benchmark for others. This new law helps to give political continuity by building on existing efforts to address climate change. It strengthens the institutional structure to address both mitigation and adaptation by setting a common vision for all sectors of the economy.
Central to the law is the recognition of Mexico's COP15 commitments – namely, a 30% pollution reduction below BAU by 2020 and a 50% reduction by 2050. Furthermore, the new law mandates a share of 35% clean energy in the power sector by 2024. The law also promotes the creation of a Climate Change Fund, which recognizes the need for registry instruments to record and efficiently manage funding from international cooperation, and mandates an allocation of federal budget to this fund (the exact amount is still to be determined).
By accepting the Climate Law, the Mexican legislature has achieved something truly remarkable. Through wide participation by all parts of society to develop the law, Mexico has shown the world that it is possible for any country to make a binding commitment to a better, low-carbon future. The message from this example is clear: countries need not wait until 2015, and definitely not until 2020, to embrace the advantages of low-carbon, climate-resilient sustainable development. If a developing country like Mexico can achieve this, ECO wonders – surely the USA, Canada, Russia and Japan can do the same and more. Action is clearly possible, necessary and extremely urgent. The window for limiting global temperature increases to less than 2°C is closing fast, but Mexico has shown that hope remains. Now, it just remains for other parties to stop talking and start doing.