Photo: Mexico's Historic Climate Change Act
Last Friday, Mexico’s House of Representatives passed a Climate Change Act, the second in the world after the United Kingdom. Once it is approved by Mexico’s Senate, the law will require the reduction of carbon emissions by 50 percent by the year 2050.
As the law goes into effect, carbon emissions will begin to be decreased by 30 percent by the year 2020, fossil fuels will be phased out, and renewable power will be made more competitive with oil, coal and gas. There will be a concerted effort as well to encourage citizen participation while helping to conserve Mexico’s environment.
This law, while helping improve Mexico’s ranking as the 11th largest GHG emitting country in the world, also will serve as a wakeup call for the developed countries of the world, primarily the United States. In 2009, the U.S. attempted without success to pass a similar climate change bill. Since then, the country has retreated from the discussion with many Republicans arguing about the existence of global warming while Democrats avoiding it for fear of seeming too liberal. Many of these politicians rely on the fossil fuel industry for campaign contributions while others fear that a drastic change could harm the already fragile U.S. economy.
More than 50 percent of the population in Mexico lives below the poverty line, they are considered a developing country, and are also suffering from the economic recession, yet this new law demonstrates the importance Mexico places on the environment. Hopefully other countries, the United States in particular, will learn from them.