Last Tuesday, June 27, Mexico City confirmed the country’s commitment with the fight against climate change by hosting a special presentation of the documentary: From the Ashes. The film, produced by RadicalMedia in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, is a clear statement of the environmental and social issues we are facing nowadays, due not only to the use of coal for powering up our lives, but also to the institutions behind that. The Head of Government of Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Mancera, introduced the film by expressing that climate change is happening, and by discouraging President Trump’s position on this issue: “Climate change exists, and we have to stop it,” he claimed.
The opening lines of the film state that coal was a driver for industrialization and modernity, but it is a 19th century fuel that should be discontinued from most of its several usages. It must be admitted that coal powered steam machineries drove us into the industrial revolution. Being a fuel that was easy to find and cheap to produce, coal was the optimal choice for electricity production in a world hungry for energy during the past decades. Certainly, coal has brought us to where we are today. But times change.
Today, with cleaner sources of energy than coal, continued use of this rudimentary fuel as a primary source for electricity generation is contra-productive to the environmental reality we now live in. And although renewables may come as the first to blame for the decrease of coal usage, the real culprit is natural gas, a cleaner and cheaper option that is being used more and more for power generation. This shift is also reflected in Mexico’s decision to turn many electric plants powered by oil into natural gas, as can be found in PRODESEN.
The number of jobs in the coal industry is decreasing due, not only to less usage of this resource, but also, to the increase of automation. This is a good trend, considering that coal extraction jobs are among the most dangerous in the world. During 2016, the number of jobs related to electricity production through coal was of few less than 160 thousand, while solar industry employed almost 374 thousand.
Source: NY Times
Truth be told the world is paving its way into cleaner options, and even economies that used to heavily rely on coal are now shifting towards an environmentally friendly position backed up by huge investments in renewable technologies, such as China.
After the film ended, a panel composed by Dan Firger from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Sidney Beaumont from Radical Media, Lilian Haua from Fideicomiso Probosque Chapultepec and Adrian Fernández from Iniciativa Climática Mexicana, pointed out the importance of citizen participation to ensure a strong, inclusive and green legislation, as well as Mexico’s efforts in this field. After all, just as Dan Firger pointed out, “We are all in this together, climate change is the issue of our time, and we will only solve it if we all work on it together”.
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