A step towards sustainability: The Climate Change Act

This law represents Mexico’s obligation to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and compounds.

We can say that Mexico celebrated International Environment Day with the announcement of the General Law on Climate Change (the Law) on June 6; which must come into force ninety working days after that date.

Implementation and compliance with this Law represents not only a national scheme to address the adverse effects of climate change, but also Mexico’s commitment to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and compounds (emissions), with the advantage of positioning the country – at the same time – towards a competitive, sustainable, low-emissions economy.

The main goal of the Act is to regulate emissions in order to achieve stabilization of their concentration in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous disturbances to the climate system, which can be directly or indirectly attributed to human activity. The first goal is to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020 compared to those in 2000; and the next goal is for that reduction to be 50% by 2050.

The implementation and effectiveness of the Law require the responsible, coordinated and continuous work of three levels of government: federal, state, municipal; as well as activating access mechanisms for social and private participation in the evaluation of the impact of public policies for mitigation and adaptation actions. This complex structure requires the creation and adaptation of specialized information organizations and systems as well as coordinating and evaluation entities, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, legal and economic instruments that enable the implementation and encouragement of compliance with its goals.

National climate change strategy

The National Climate Change Strategy is the leading instrument of national policy in the medium and long term for dealing with the effects of climate change and moving towards a competitive, sustainable and low-carbon economy, which will be reviewed every ten years for mitigation and every six for adaptation. The current Strategy will remain in force until the publication of the one that will replace it in the first quarter of 2013. As for the current Special Climate Change Program, its validity is set until November 30, 2013.

This federal program must include six-year planning regarding mitigation and adaptation goals. With regard to the former, priority will be given to areas such as energy production and use, gas, transport, agriculture, forestry, land use, industrial processes and waste management and, with regard to adaptation, management-related planning. Comprehensive risk assessment, use and conservation of water resources, agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, industry and services, transport and communication infrastructure, rural development, territorial ecological planning and urban development, human settlements, infrastructure and public health services. Within their powers, the federal entities must determine their six-year programs.

The establishment of the Climate Change Fund, which must be established by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit within six months, is highlighted. This fund will be managed by a national credit society that will serve as a trustee, and its resources will be intended to support actions to deal with climate change, including, among other things, attention to social groups and the implementation of development projects and programs. sustainable, conservation of natural resources, education, research, as well as for the purchase of certified emission reductions and the financing of projects registered in the national emissions registry or approved by international agreements to which Mexico is a party, or which are considered strategic for climate change.

The Federation, the federal states and the federal district, within the framework of their powers, must design and implement economic instruments that encourage compliance with national climate change policy objectives. When granting fiscal incentives, priority will be given to research activities, the installation or use of mechanisms, equipment and technologies that avoid, reduce or control emissions, energy efficiency, as well as the development of renewable energy sources and low-carbon technologies, among others.

For its effectiveness, the Law requires the creation and development of various tasks by the centralized and parastatal federal public administration, federal entities and municipalities that will support adaptation and mitigation activities. In this context, deadlines are provided in which certain tasks must be completed. For example, in terms of adaptation measures, the General Program of Ecological Territorial Planning and the sub-programme for the protection and sustainable management of biological diversity in conditions of climate change must be available before November 30, 2012, and in terms of civil protection, before the end of 2013, the national risk atlas and the state and local risk atlases of human settlements most vulnerable to climate change and local programs to deal with them must be integrated and published.

In mitigation actions, by 2019, municipalities must develop and build solid waste management infrastructure that does not emit methane into the atmosphere in urban centers with more than fifty thousand inhabitants, and implement technology for the production of electricity from methane gas. emissions. By 2020, the subsidy system that promotes the use of non-fossil fuels, energy efficiency and sustainable public transport, and the incentive system that makes the production of electricity from renewable energy sources profitable, must be gradually generated by the year 2024, the production of electricity from clean energy sources reaches at least 35 how much.

Before us is a Law in a complex construction that advocates for the continuous efficiency of our public and parastatal administration, as well as for the active participation of society in general. Before us is a titanic and necessary task, which presents great challenges, but also enormous opportunities to renew ourselves towards better and more sustainable quality development. More than worrying, it calls us to occupy and rebuild, in a very short time. So, let’s do what suits everyone, to achieve it!

Authors:

Gloria Park T. Partner Mexico Santamarina y Steta Company Office. His professional practice focuses on the environment, sustainability, natural resources and climate change, as well as real estate projects and general corporate law.

Andrea Cavazzani S. associate in the Mexican office of Santamarina y Steta. His professional practice is focused on the areas of environmental protection, business and trade, and real estate projects.

Hector Garza Cervera. Associate of the Mexican office of Santamarina y Steta. His professional practice focuses on general corporate, real estate projects and environmental law, sustainability, natural resources and climate change.


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