Mexico’s senate unanimously passes climate change law
Last night Mexico made history by passing an ambitious climate change law (The General Climate Change Law). It passed in Senate unanimously – with 78 votes in favour and none against. Unlike Canda, the Mexican Government worked across all parties to generate consensus support to make climate change an urgent priority, showing that climate change is not – and should not be – a partisan issue.
It is the first climate change law of its kind to succeed in North America, and the first from a developing nation. This bill has been in the works for the past two years, and is only the second climate change law of its calibre in the world after the United Kingdom.
This news comes in stark comparison to Canada’s headlines in late 2010, when our own Senate voted against a climate change law (Climate Change Accountability Act) that had passed parliament. A rare moment in Canadian Senate history, the bill was defeated – voted down 43 to 32.
Mexico is leading the world down a responsible path by dealing with climate change, despite going through difficult economic times, and despite being deeply dependent on oil revenues – an energy source itself largely responsible for climate change. In fact, the Government of Mexico understands this bill to be of economic necessity, as it includes a substantive shift towards renewable energy and away from subsidizing oil, coal and gas.
– Cut emissions 30% by 2020, and 50% by 2050 (vs 2000 levels)
– Have 35% of electricity from clean sources by 2024
– Make renewable energy economically competitive by 2020
– Complete phase-out of subsidies to coal, oil and gas
– Create a national green climate fund
– Launch a National Ecology & Climate Change Institute
– Mandates the development of a National Mitigation Policy, National Climate Change Strategy, & National Adaptation Policy
– Includes emissions from deforestation & land degradation (3rd largest source of emissions in the country)
The law had passed in the House of Representatives earlier last week with 280 votes in favour and 10 against. It is now set to be officially issued by President Calderón.
And, on the two-year anniversary of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the symbolism and importance of doing the right thing could not be stronger for the global environment we all share.