Extreme Temperature Diary- May 5th, 2018/ Topic: Mexico and Climate Change

Saturday May 5th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊. Here is today’s main climate change related topic: 

Mexico and Climate Change

Happy Cinco De Mayo. Since today is a special day recognizing Mexico why not focus our attention on what effects climate change is having on that country and what their government and people are doing about it. Being a citizen of the United States I’m guilty of  looking at what is occurring in just my own land. In the future I hope to report more broadly since, after all, we are writing about global warming, a worldwide existential treat. 

There is a handy site that allows the user to track what each individual country is doing about carbon emissions:

https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/mexico/ 

Here is the overview of Mexico’s goals from the site:

“Mexico plans to add new coal-fired capacity in 2020. It will reduce electricity generation from existing coal-fired power plants only after 2024 and retire some old capacity after 2028. This is a reversal of the government’s previous plan to steadily reduce the amount of coal-based electricity already from 2017 onwards and it is inconsistent with the short-term steps needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit. For the power sector this would mean no new coal plants should be built and emissions from the existing coal fleet need to decrease globally on average by 30% by the year 2025.”

Climateactiontracker.org rates Mexico as having “insufficient” plans and policies in line with the Paris Accords to prevent the planet’s mean temperature from exceeding 1.5C above preindustrial levels . If the rest if the globe had the same emissions scenarios as Mexico the planet would see an unacceptable 2-3C rise.

Like the rest of the world Mexico wants to grow its economy, which means it will be hungry for energy. Take a look at this Scientific American article from 2015:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mexico-challenges-other-nations-to-act-boldly-against-climate-change/

Quoting from the article:

“The United States’ southern neighbor is the world’s 10th-largest oil producer, and by 2050 is expected to become the world’s fifth-largest economy. Though it contributes less than 2 percent of the planet’s carbon emissions, the country made an aggressive climate pledge toward a new global accord: to peak national emissions by 2026 and drive them down 22 percent by 2030. That makes Mexico one of the largest developing countries to issue such a proposal.”

“The world is watching. Emerging economies have often argued that they should be compensated before they take action against climate change. Mitigation opponents in wealthy nations, on the other hand, justify inaction because cutting carbon pollution from developing countries is sine qua non for curbing global warming.”

“Mexico pokes a hole in both arguments. As a large developing resource economy in the Western Hemisphere—and a major oil producer, as well—it has embraced unconditional emissions targets. Moreover, Mexico doesn’t fit well into any existing power bloc in U.N. climate negotiations. Instead, it borrows elements from all of them, hurdling over the old rich-poor divide.”Renewable energy also offers Mexico an opportunity to regain lost ground in manufacturing.

In the summer of 2015, SunEdison Inc. announced that its photovoltaic factory in Juárez reached its peak production capacity of 1.3 million solar panels per year, making it the largest solar manufacturing facility in Latin America.”

 

Credit: Scientific American and ClimateWire

This blogger can’t stress enough the need for international cooperation on the climate issue. Mexico’s border issues with the U.S. are sidetracking efforts to convert to green energy: “The focus on border issues related to immigration has eclipsed a broader view of economic interests and a mutual energy and environmental interest,” said California Sen. Bill Monning (D), who joined a delegation to Mexico in August.” This quote was made in 2015 well before the Trump Administration started to further sour relations with Mexico.

In February 2019 there will be a very important energy forum in Mexico City as noted on the top graphic from this article: http://www.renewableenergymexico.com/mexico-and-the-climate-change-in-the-light-of-the-cop21-agreement/   

Quoting from this article as a good conclusion:

Despite the accomplishments reached at the Paris summit, there are still some drawbacks that could delay the much-needed actions aimed at slowing down global warming, such as the fact that most of the key agreements are not legally binding, which can lead to countries withdrawing from the deal, as it happened with Canada in the Kyoto Protocol. In this sense, public opinion will have an important role in ensuring that all nations comply with the commitments made in Paris. Mexico is not an exception, and even though the government has put regulations in place to facilitate the country’s sustainable development, there public pressure will be needed to ensure that these regulations are met. At the moment, 66% of Mexicans claim to be concern about climate change and the environment, but just 31% agree on the government taking stronger actions in this regard. Education and communication efforts about the potential effects of climate change in Mexico must be put into operation to reverse this trend. Otherwise, there is a risk that Mexico’s climate change actions will remain as only promises.

With plenty of solar radiation to work with Mexico has a great chance to become a green power. We shall see if corruption, poverty, and anti-progressive attitudes prevent our neighbor to the south from attaining goals set by the Paris Accords. This writer can see Mexico’s precarious situation  go either way.  

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I may add some relevant information later today.

 

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The Climate Guy

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