Because Mexico is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the government led by President Felipe Calderón has actively sought to combat the effects of this phenomenon in the short, intermediate, and long term. Mexico's approach to climate change regulation arises under several laws that govern productive sectors and activities related to the environment and energy:
Constitution. The Mexican Political Constitution governs the functions of the state in relation to use of and benefit from natural resources, care of the environment, and prevention of contamination. Mexicans have a constitutional right to an environment adequate for their development and welfare.
International Treaty. As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, Mexico has made its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as its commitment to promote efficient use of natural resources and energy efficiency. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through implementation of projects under the Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism, particularly renewable source electricity-generating projects (wind, biomass, hydro, solar), is among the goals of Mexico's 2007–2012 National Development Plan.
General Laws. The general laws that address climate change are (1) the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection; (2) the General Law for Comprehensive Handling and Prevention of Waste; (3) Law Regulating Constitutional Article 27 in the Field of Petroleum; (4) Law for Use of Renewable Energy Sources; and (5) Public Electricity Service Law.
To fulfill its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Mexican government has sought to establish an appropriate legal framework that will permit the orderly implementation of projects with flexibility and efficiency. The so-called "energy reform" was published in 2008 as part of the government's efforts to provide this legal framework,. Its purpose is, among others, to promote the use of clean energy, contribute to safekeep the environment, and foster energy sustainability.
Among the efforts made by the Mexican government to combat the effects of climate change is the recent submission of the General Law on Climate Change, an initiative that would amend more than 30 existing laws and regulations, including the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection and the Law for Use of Renewable Energy Sources. This proposal seeks to concentrate in a single legal instrument various provisions regarding climate change that are now dispersed through several instruments, which would make compliance with the climate change obligations far simpler. The initiative also addresses recommendations for policies, strategies and goals for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and processes for evaluation and follow-up of actions and their impact.
The proposal also provides for distributing climate change responsibilities among various levels of government, including the creation of:
- The National Climate Change System. The purpose of the System will be to group the different institutions related to the subject, integrate public policy instruments with those now in force, distribute information, and contribute to the creation of citizen awareness.
- Climate Change Commission. The Commission, which will replace the Inter-Secretarial Climate Change Commission, will be responsible for coordinating the formulation and implementation of a national climate change policy, including public consultations based on Commission resolutions.
- The Climate Change Council. The Council, a permanent body responsible for monitoring and evaluating the System, will be made up of members from civil society, private organizations, and academic bodies.
Both the Commission and the Council will have an obligation to submit annual reports to the Legislative Power. The Mexican government has, with this action, sought to lay the foundation to mitigate in an effective form the impact of climate change in Mexico.