On May 15 Silvia Garza, Fernando González and Josefa González advisors to the presidential candidates Ricardo Anaya, José Antonio Meade and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, respectively, gathered for the first time to talk about the candidates’ proposals regarding environment, energy and sustainability.
During the discussion held at ITAM, Fernando González emphasized the importance of sustainable exploitation of Mexico’s resources Mexico, both in terms of hydrocarbons and renewables. He also pointed out the importance of cities reaching a sustainable future. “Urban areas experience a high consumption of water, energy and other resources. This consumption density must be lowered,” González said. Water was a topic he found to be highly relevant.
His vision toward reducing the country’s emissions levels called for the creation of a more efficient public transportation network. “For an effective transition toward sustainability, the country has to think about its public transportation sector too,” he explained. “For example, Mexico lacks public railroad and maritime networks that could connect the country in an efficient way.” In his opinion, Mexico needs more public investment directed toward R&D so it can produce its own technologies.
Josefa González called for the development of a social and supportive economy. In her opinion, investment should not conflict with social wellbeing. “All projects should always take into account the social fabric of the country,” she said. “Negotiations between companies and communities must always take place before projects start, to ensure that their net impact will be positive for both parties.” In her opinion, subsidies should be used to reduce emissions and finally she called for a unified carbon trading market that should be regulated with honesty.
“Mexico has committed to produce 35 percent of its energy through renewable energy technologies by 2021. Our alliance will aim to reach 40 percent,” said Garza during her presentation. To accelerate the energy transition in Mexico she mentioned the importance of controlling emissions in the energy and oil and gas industries, while ensuring a more sustainable mobility model is achieved. She also has great faith in the solar industry. “Solar generation in its centralized and distributed applications will be highly important for Mexico’s energy transition,” she said. She also placed great importance on water given shortages in several major cities across the country.
When asked whether the Energy Reform should continue, Garza gave a blunt yes, Fernando González cautiously mentioned the importance of its continuity while asking for a stronger normativity surrounding it, and Josefa González called for a democratic revision free of corruption.
On May 16, during an event held by 11 international and national organizations specialized in climate change the proposals of the then-five presidential candidates (subsequently, Zavala conceded) were evaluated. The evaluation was focus on 10 relevant and urgent matters to address to counter the effects of climate change in Mexico. These 10 topics were:
1) Accelerate the introduction of renewable energies
2) Work out financial structures that support climate change prevention while developing the economy
3) Increase efforts in terms of wildlife preservation
4) Reach zero deforestation
5) Create local plans to combat climate change effects
6) Develop a national plan to reduce and make the consumption of everyday products and services more efficient
7) Boost urban planning
8) Promote the usage of greener and cleaner public transport
9) Increase economic funding to combat climate change in an efficient way
10) Integrate all the previous points in a transversal way in the candidate’s National Development Plan 2018-2024.
Each point was evaluated on a scale of zero to two, zero representing no action and two representing positive action. The results are shown here:
Sandra Guzmán, General Coordinator of the Group of Climate Financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, responded by highlighting that renewable energies and urban planning for sustainable cities were the strongest topics discussed by the candidates, but they still do not receive enough coverage. Guzmán challenged the candidates to go deeper and discuss topics like sustainable consumption of everyday products and services, mobilization of financial resources and increase in transparency and accountability in terms of climate change.
Carlos Tornel, representative of the Mexican Climate Initiative called for the importance of the having a new administration that prioritizes the introduction of climate change fight in federal policy. “Since 2013, Mexico has reduced its CO2 production by 30 million tons, which represents an advance of only 12 percent of the required reduction the country committed to reach by 2020,” he said.
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