Joining world leaders in climate laws, Mexico just passed new legislation that catapults the poor neighbor to the south of the U.S. to a leadership role on a par with its northern neighbor, California.
Mexico’s General Law on Climate Change was just passed by an 128-10 overwhelming vote in its 500 member Chamber of Deputies, and moves to the Senate. Since that body passed a preliminary version already, its chances of becoming law look excellent.
Just as investment in clean energy soared in California following passage of its clean climate laws starting in 2006 with the first Renewable Energy Standard and following up with AB32, its climate law.
California’s 33% clean energy by 2020 target received enough offers from solar and wind developers to make 100% of its energy from these two sources, for example. Mexico boasts the same abundant solar and wind resources and could easily achieve the same goals as California.
The bill that passed the House would include provisions to:
- Set the target of emissions reduction of 30 percent below business-as-usual emissions by 2020 and 50 percent below 2000 levels by 2050.
- Develop incentives to promote renewable energy, to be designed by the Ministry of Finance and of Energy.
- Increase renewable energy generation to 35% by 2024.
- Create a high-level climate change commission to oversee national climate policy over sustained Administrations. This alone would set stable climate policy – making Mexico more like Europe. Unlike the U.S. which totters back and forth in gridlock, with clean energy held hostage by the GOP – dropping the wind PTC every other year, for example – the EU and China have set, stuck to, and achieved long range goals. Calderon established an inter-ministry panel, but this law would ensure that high-level multi-ministry engagement occurs even after his term is over.
- Require mandatory emissions reporting for the largest source of global warming pollution in the country, an essential aspect of managing them.
- Support the development of a domestic emission trading system – the bill wouldn’t mandate the establishment of a cap & trade plan for energy and cement production, the biggest emitters, although that might be handled using trading. Another way to get to the targets might be a simple mandate, like the Renewable Energy Standards requiring utilities to add more renewable energy or buy credits for customers who do so (or pay a penalty) they way the SREC market works in New Jersey.
Quite aside from its effect on climate, the new law could completely upend the interconnection between the U.S. and Mexico, reversing their relationship to each other.
Formerly seen as the source of undocumented “alien invasion” by the poor South (although somewhat eroded by the recession) Mexico will now become itself the focus of clean energy investment, lifting its economy and bolstering its long term energy security in the same way that clean energy investment has done with California’s.
This law puts Mexico on a par with the EU as well as California, and will no doubt have very interesting geopolitical effects that shake up the status quo.
The EU signed Kyoto in 1997, and passed laws to lower emissions by 2005. Five years later it had double the wind power of the US, and ten times the solar power.