Sustainable transport presents major opportunity to curb Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions
EMBARQ Mexico is working to ensure that the country capitalizes on the momentum from last month’s United Nations Climate Summit in New York City. In the lead up to the Summit, EMBARQ Mexico, along with a number of other civil society organizations, authored an open letter to President Peña Nieto, urging him to recognize the need for concrete actions to mitigate climate change. Mexico is a significant contributor to global climate change, and emitted the most CO2 of any Latin American country in 2010. EMBARQ Mexico is helping lead a movement towards sustainable transport that will help the country curb these emissions.
Seizing the moment to act on climate change
Last month’s U.N. Climate Summit, convened by U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, built momentum for continued progress on climate change at the COP 20 in Lima (2014), the COP 21 in Paris (2015), and the Habitat III Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (2016). The Summit also provided a forum for leaders to commit to strategies to reduce GHG emissions.
Mexico is the twelfth largest greenhouse gas emitting country in the world. As an emerging economy, it already emits 1.4% of global CO2 emissions, and environmental damage costs Mexico 7% of its GDP annually. Civil society organizations play an important role in advancing policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build more sustainable cities.
Promoting sustainable transport for a greener economy
EMBRAQ Mexico is pleased that transport is considered a significant opportunity to curb the country’s overall emissions. The transport sector is currently responsible for 22% of Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions. For Mexico to reach its goal of a 30% reduction in emissions below business as usual by 2020, it is key to make progress in the transport sector.
The country has already taken some action to promote and implement more sustainable forms of transport and minimize emissions. For example, both the National Strategy on Climate Change (ENACC) and the Special Program on Climate Change (PECC) established concrete actions to mitigate emissions from the transport sector. Of the five mitigation pillars in ENACC, two address urban and freight mobility. The PECC also outlines a series of improvements in energy efficiency, mass transit, and freight that, together with measures in other sectors, will allow Mexico to reach half of its 2020 emissions reduction goal.
Significant commitments are necessary for Mexico to fully reach its emissions targets. President Peña Nieto’s pledge at the U.N. Climate Summit to produce one third of all energy with renewal sources by 2018 is another step forward. It also raises the possibility of implementing renewable energy solutions in the transport sector, in line with the Urban Electric Mobility Initiative (UEMI) launched at the Summit.
With political will, a low carbon future is possible for Mexico’s cities, and for the country as a whole. At the summit, President Peña Nieto noted that addressing climate change requires collective efforts from all nations and actors. In his speech, he referred to Mexico’s carbon tax – adopted in 2012 – as a key part of advancing Mexico’s vision for a greener economy. He concluded his speech with an apt observation: "Human beings are the cause of climate change, but also are the solution."
Read more about progress on sustainable cities and transport at the U.N. Climate Summit here.