Mexico is poised to become the second nation in the world (behind Great Britain) to pass sweeping climate change legislation that calls for dramatically reducing carbon emissions over the next four decades. Last week, Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies (its House of Representatives) voted to approve a new General Law on Climate Change by an overwhelming margin of 128-10. To become law, which appears quite likely now, the law must pass the Mexican Senate and be signed by President Felipe Calderón.
The bill will require future governments to hit significant carbon emission reduction targets – it sets goals to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2050. It also sets a goal to increase the amount of energy generated from renewable sources to 35 percent by 2024. If passed, the law will also grant Mexico’s government the power to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, introduce new renewable energy incentives, and launch a domestic emission trading system.
In addition to scoring a big win for the environment, the climate change bill could provide a major boost to Mexico’s economy, sparking new clean tech investment while saving money with new energy-efficient systems.
The ball got rolling on the General Law on Climate Change back in 2010, when Mexico was preparing to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancún. The measure fell short in 2010, but the country now appears to be on the verge of becoming the first developing country in the world to pass a binding climate change law.