Mexico is moving forward on climate change. Earlier in 2012 nearly all of the political parties in the Senate agreed to the completion of a unified General Climate Change Bill, which incorporates and consolidates various initiatives, policies and provisions that were proposed in several previous initiatives. Certain Mexican states, such as Veracruz, Tabasco and the Federal District, have already enacted local climate change bills. However, Mexico still lacks a federal statute on the subject, which is a key component in enforcing the goals and policies set out in federal programmes such as the Special Programme for Climate Change, the National Strategy on Climate Change, the National Strategy on Energy and the specific laws and regulations of the energy sector.

The draft bill's provisions would create:

  • a national system for addressing climate change;
  • a national climate change policy, based on defined principles; and
  • an independent authority, to be known as the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, which will be directed by a government committee created by certain federal ministries.

The bill's provisions on adaptation and mitigation are among its most significant. The adaptation provisions are intended to regulate specific factors relating to the effects of climate change in Mexico, having regard to natural conditions and ecosystems and the particular risks to the Mexican population. Adaptation measures will be based on procedures for diagnosis, planning, monitoring, reporting and verification, which will underpin the actions to be taken by Mexico's three levels of government in order to create programmes and policies that address particular effects of climate change. This approach will be further supported by the creation and updating of a climate change map and other risk indicators.

The bill includes mitigation policies to:

  • promote the control and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • promote energy-efficient practices and the use of renewable energy and clean technology transfer;
  • measure, report and verify airborne emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions;
  • incentivise the use of the potential energy in waste materials and the creation of methodologies for waste treatment;
  • develop economic and fiscal incentives to recognise and support socially and environmentally responsible companies;
  • reduce emissions from public transportation systems; and
  • publish methodologies and standards for measuring greenhouse gas emissions and set maximum emission levels.

The bill also contains general provisions for access to federal and international funds to implement projects for greenhouse gas mitigation or reduction and carbon capture. It also provides guidelines on promoting the delivery of certified emission reduction under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism and any similar voluntary markets for carbon set-off, whether national or international.

Ultimately, the bill calls on federal, local and municipal authorities to coordinate the control, monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from the public and private sectors. Their objectives should be to achieve emission reduction targets and make joint efforts to address the effects of climate change, but also to incentivise:

  • investment in clean technology, sustainable production processes and environmentally friendly transport systems;
  • the generation of energy from renewable sources; and
  • the promotion of jobs in ecology, environmental studies and related areas.

The draft has been debated and approved by the Senate, but must still be reviewed by the Chamber of Representatives; therefore, it may yet undergo changes before it is finally passed by both houses.

For further information on this topic please contact Juan Francisco Torres Landa, Jorge Yanez, Brenda Rogel or Jeanett Trad Nacif at Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa SC by telephone (+52 55 5091 0157), fax (+52 55 5091 0123) or email ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]).