The calls to take care of our planet are today in 2021, more evident and frequent than some years ago. The pandemic has taught us important lessons and has made us more aware about taking care of our environment.
One of the top objectives of most countries in the world is related with the environmental care. The importance of taking care of the environmental matter was evidently determined by the UN when the Declaration of the 2030 Agenda was inaugurated on 25th September 2015. A list of 17 sustainable goals was developed, which included tackling with poverty increase, empower women and girls, gender equality, a focus on generating sustainability of resources, therefore addressing the climate emergency by generating responsible consumption and production in the value and supply chains, adjusting their infrastructure, adjusting industry to a clean direction, that is, to develop renewable and clean energies in order to clean water and to create affordable and clean energies among other goals through innovation, strategic management of resources, goods and services, by generating specialized human capital capable and prepared to develop these strategies, by expanding the abilities of technological and scientific capacities, by promoting the quintuple helix model and by promoting technology-transfer and developing tech-companies with directives focused on addressing the climatic change phenomenon.
Time has proved that achieving these goals has not been easy. Global temperature keeps rising. Even though steps are being made to decrease fossil fuel consumption, countries are still considering a 2% increase for the following years. To redirect the infrastructure of industry and technology, to a green and clean economy growth, implies many challenges. The first and most important is that these goals are not yet a global objective and that this climate change vision has not yet achieved an economic significance even though it is estimated that by 2030 climate decay will add 100 million people to poverty. As consequence of these situation, among other factors, it has been needed to change the 2030 deadline to 2050 instead.
Countries climate financing
The climate action, that is, the whole set of actions to be taken to address and solve the climatic change challenging situation, is a very complex puzzle. One of the challenges is that these actions must be global. Each country of the world must take individual action to support the collective solution of this situation. These actions involve a huge investment of economic resources.
Trillion-dollar investments from each country are needed to change their infrastructure, their markets and industries in order to redirect them to a clean direction where the generation of innovation in clean technologies is already playing a key role.
The UN Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that adaptation costs alone faced by just developing countries will be in a range of $140 billion to $300 billion per year by 2030, and $280 billion to $500 billion annually by 2050. But this investment effort is only the beginning. Once mitigation and decarbonization efforts as well as global resiliency efforts in both the developing and developed world are integrated, calculations esteem that the annual cost will greatly exceed $500 billion and possibly even more than a trillion dollars.
Today, the financial resources for climate change research and project development come from public and private funding programs and organizations. Climate-related investments are gradually making more sense. Today one can find that some investments in climate change industry sectors are becoming cheaper than investments in projects to keep exploiting fossil fuels, for example. Some calculation estimate that green investments could be able to generate almost 18 million employments by 2030. To reach this goal, the private and public sector must combine efforts to find a common support point that allows to make climate investments easier and more attractive, so more companies make the change of direction to create a green economy growth. The motivation is strong though. It is estimated that the benefits of these investments could have an economic gain of $26 trillion through 2030 compared with business in the common energy projects.
Where is Mexico standing?
Mexico passed the General Law on Climate Change (LGCC for its initials in Spanish) in 2012, as part of the National Development Plan of that Administration period. On April 25th, 2018, Mexico ratified the Paris Agreement and consequently reformed the LGCC as part of this commitment, which was originally taken within the framework of the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris, France in 2016 when Mexico became a member of the Paris Agreement.
Part of the commitments to the Paris Agreement – Article 4 – and with the LGCC, of which Mexico is a member country, is to define a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and then to establish its implementation. The NDCs are focused to mitigate the Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) emissions to keep the rise in global temperature below 2 °C. Mexico presented its NDC in 2016 and a further updated NDC in 2020.
What is Mexico doing?
The first steps are generating efforts focused on reducing the carbon print towards to decarbonization and the goal to zero-net emissions. That means that the emissions will be balanced by the natural CO2 absorbing systems: mangroves, forests, jungles, etc., which will absorb them from the atmosphere and that there will not be additional new emissions to the atmosphere. That is why it is of utmost significance to increase the programs and strategies to preserve these natural systems which Mexico is still very rich with and keep taking actions towards these goals. A great window of opportunity for innovation in environmental technology and other innovation sectors related with energy and the climatic change is ready to be made the most of. Being one of the multibiodiverse countries in the world, Mexico has a great potential of developing technology which helps to preserve these biological systems. It is critical to make use of the momentum.
Mexico has established a goal of GHG emission reduction of 22% by 2024, and with specific conditions of collective agreement and financial support, the goal could be extended to a 36%. Actions to achieve this goal include the gradual adaption capacity, generating programs to convert the strategic infrastructure and productive systems to a green/clean direction, to preserve ecosystems, and create strategies of adaptation of their social sectors.
Innovation in Clean Technologies
Mexico is taking actions towards these significant steps of decarbonization and adaptation of its energy producing industries.
Through the Instituto Nacional de Electricidad y Energías Limpias (INEEL) National Institute of Clean Electricity and Energies, and according with the Energetic Transition Law (LTE for its initials in Spanish), Mexico is focusing government efforts and opening space to generate innovation in order to comply with the commitment of having a 36% of clean energies participating in the generation of electric energy by 2024 as seen above. The creation of the Mexican Centers for Innovation in Energy (CeMIE for its initials in Spanish) take advantage of resources, scientific research activities, form alliances and expand the relationship between the scientific, technology, and entrepreneurial sectors expanding the vision, perspective and strategy all over the energy sector in Mexico.
The energy sectors to which every one of the CeMIE are distributed and operating in specific energy areas: bionenergetic, eolic, geotermic, oceanic, solar, CO2 capture and intelligent electrical networks.
These governmental actions have promoted as well as actions in the private industries, research institutions, funding organizations, and promoter offices which are promoting the generation of clean technologies in these same areas. Private funding for these projects to keep emerging is critical.
The clean technology market is very variable, challenging, and competitive. The efforts of the current Mexican technology innovation networks must be maintained if the country wants to get to the goal of investing the estimated amount of 4.4 billion dollars, to convert and adjust its infrastructure, economy and technology to a sustainable economic development based on the innovation on clean technologies.
According with the WIPO, the number of Mexican patents granted to Mexican residents from 2012 – to 2019 goes from 1294 to 1305 as shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Number of Mexican patents granted to Mexican residents from 2012 to 2019.
The numbers from the WIPO regarding environmental technology patents of Mexican residents in Mexico are as shown in Table 2.
Table 2. Number of Mexican patents of environmental technology granted to Mexican residents from 2012 to 2019.
Even though we can see that there is a strong stimulation of innovation of clean technologies, which is progressing in a favorable way, still much work, strategy and investment is needed to be made to promote the technology generation in the different energy sectors, to see the convenience of these climate change-related investments, so Mexico can comply with its commitments with preserving our planet Earth.