No standoff, just positive reform
Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico - photo credit - Jezael Melgoza, http://Unsplash.io
Welcome to the twelfth edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention is paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
Mexico signed the Paris Agreement on the 22nd of April 2016 and brought it into force on the 4th of November 2016.
According to Annex I of the Conference of Parties twenty-first session (COP21), Mexico was the tenth highest emitting nation of CO2 into the atmosphere, based on data submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) ahead of COP21 in December 2015.
World Resources Institute’s GHG emissions statistics for Mexico in 2013 indicates that the largest emitters by sector are energy (67%), waste (15%) and agriculture (11%). Drilling down further into the energy sector segment of the statistics demonstrates that electricity/ heat and transportation account for 40% and 30% of the energy sector emissions total respectively.
Since the publication of these statistics in 2013, however, Mexico has been taking its climate change obligations seriously and has undergone large-scale energy reform. It has opened up its energy market to investment technology and new market entrants, thus ending Petróleos Mexicanos’ (PEMEX) 80-year monopoly of the power market. This reform agenda is part of the Mexican government’s wider effort to modernise its economy. Mexico was one of the first countries to submit a climate pledge in advance of the COP21 meeting in Paris. These clean energy targets were then written into their domestic legislation, further illustrating Mexico’s commitment to reform.
The climate action tracker, a consortium of three research bodies, attributes a ‘medium’ rating to Mexico’s policies and pledges towards greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. Although it commends Mexican efforts towards reform, it notes with caution that these efforts must be sustained and even augmented in order to meet 2020 and 2030 targets.
In June 2016, Secretaría de Energía de México (SENER), Mexico’s Ministry of Energy entered a partnership agreement with Scotland Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) research department in order to facilitate knowledge sharing between scientists in both countries, as well as to enhance opportunities to win funding for CCUS research by using a collaborative approach.
CCUS projects are not new in Mexico. Halliburton has supported PEMEX with the maintenance and operation of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects since 1998. The most notable of these is a facility located in Carmito, Mexico. Roughly 8.5 million tonnes of CO2 have been stored at this site. To put this in context, this is equivalent to taking 1.8 million cars off the road for one year! More information about EOR can be found in the week 9 edition of this blog, A – Z of CCUS.
Mexico is an ambitious nation that wants to firmly establish itself on the international stage. Reform of their energy sector and a focus on reducing GHG emissions are very positive measures. It will take some time for these reforms to bear fruit and more work is required to increase energy generation from renewable sources as opposed to co-generations (renewables plus fossil fuels).
Overall the signals coming from Mexico are positive and socially responsible.
Next week’s blog will profile the UK, a leading innovator in the development of CCUS technologies.