The Mexican legislature passed one of the strongest national climate-change laws so far on 19 April. Mexico, which ranks 11th in the world for both the size of its economy and its level of carbon emissions, joins the United Kingdom in having legally binding emissions goals aimed at stemming the effects of climate change.
After three years of debate and revisions, the bill passed in Mexico’s lower house with a vote of 128 for and 10 against, and was later passed unanimously by the Senate. The new law contains many sweeping provisions to mitigate climate change, including a mandate to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 30% below business-as-usual levels by 2020, and by 50% below 2000 levels by 2050.
Despite concerns about Mexico’s ability to enforce the legislation, experts point out that the bill can already be seen as a successful response to the 2010 UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún.
“Mexico was widely credited for helping to rescue the international effort in Cancún. But some noted the lack of corresponding action domestically. Now Mexico has something to show at home too,” says Diringer.
The act also establishes a commission to oversee implementation, and encourages development of a carbon-trading scheme. Although there was initial resistance from Mexico’s steel and cement industries, the bill passed with bipartisan support.