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Current situation

What is Mexicoʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Emissions profile

In 2017, Mexico’s national emissions excluding LULUCF were over 730 MtCO₂e, of which the energy sector was responsible for over 70%. The next largest share is agriculture at about 14% with industry and waste contributing roughly equally to remaining emissions. Within the energy sector, both transport and power sectors were the main emitters in 2017, although transport has become the highest emitting sector in recent years.6

Current policy projections indicate that 2030 emissions would reach between 774-852 MtCO₂e/yr excluding LULUCF.7 Only the lowest end of these projections would be in line with Mexico’s current NDC, but this range is far outside of the 1.5°C compatible emissions range by 2030. While the transport sector is the greatest contributor to overall emissions, the power sector offers the greatest opportunities for decarbonisation in order to improve emissions trends to 2030. Through electrification of end-use sectors, a decarbonised power sector will steer emissions reductions in the transport sector.

1 Climate Action Tracker. Mexico. CAT September 2020 Update. (2020).

2 Government of Mexico. Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. (2015).

3 Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) & Gobierno de México. Estrategia Nacional de Cambio Climático. Informe CICC (2013).

4 SENER. Prospectiva del Sector Eléctrico 2017-2031. (2017).

5 Government of Mexico. Mexico’s Climate Change Mid-Century Strategy.(2016).

6 Climate Transparency. Mexico Country Profile. (2020).

7 Climate Action Tracker. Mexico: Climate Action Tracker (Sep 2020 Update). (2020).

8 US EIA. Mexico. (2020).

9 Congreso General de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Diario Oficial de la Federación. Ley de la industria eléctrica. (2014).

10 Cámara de Diputados del H. Congreso de la Unión. Diario Oficial de la Federación. Ley de Transición Energética. Diario Oficial de la Federacion 1–31 (2015).

11 Climate Action Tracker. Mexico | Update Target Tracker. (2020).

12 Congreso General de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Ley General de Cambio Climatico. Diario Oficial de la Federacion Mexicana (2012). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-67666-1_8.

13 Government of Mexico. Compromisos de Mitigación y Adaptación Ante el Cambio Climático para el Periodo 2020-2030. (2015).

14 Gobierno de Mexico. Contribución Determinada a Nivel Nacional de México: Actualización 2020. (2020).

15 Gobierno de Mexico. ESTRATEGIA DE TRANSICIÓN PARA PROMOVER EL USO DE TECNOLOGÍAS Y COMBUSTIBLES MÁS LIMPIOS. (2019).

16 México proyecta generar 50% de energía limpia en 2050. ONEXPO Nacional. (2017).

17 CONAFOR. Estrategia Nacional para REDD+ 2017-2030 (ENAREDD+). 6 (2017).

18 Climate Action Tracker. Mexico: Update Spetember 2020. (2020).

19 Tornel, C. Petro-populism and infrastructural energy landscapes: The case of Mexico’s Dos Bocas Refinery. Nord. Geogr. Publ. 49, 6–31 (2021).

20 LULUCF assumptions are based on the Climate Action Tracker assessment on Mexico, assuming a level of LULUCF emissions ranging from Mexico’s NDC BAU to the unconditional NDC.

21 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches.

Mexicoʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Power
  • Transport
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Other
  • Buildings
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Agriculture
  • Industry (processes)
  • Waste
  • LULUCF
Energy (71%)⟵ LULUCF negative emissions

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
066%0

Sectors by gas

Energy
093%0
Agriculture
063%0
Industry (processes)
078%0

Energy system

Fossil fuels currently account for 85% of Mexico’s energy supply. Oil is the largest source of primary energy at almost 50% largely due to high oil consumption in the transport sector.6 The role of oil in the power sector, however, has decreased over the last two decades due to a major shift to natural gas.8

In 2015, Mexico passed the Energy Transition Law which set targets to achieve “clean” power generation of 25% by 2018, 30% by 2021 and 35% by 2024. Additional targets were set under the National Climate Change Strategy to reach 40% clean power by 2034 and 50% by 2050.3 However, Mexico’s definition of “clean energy” includes nuclear, CCS and efficient co-generation.9,10

Mexico did not meet its 2018 clean energy target and is not on track to meet its 2021 and 2024 targets either. In 2020 the government rolled back new renewable projects, citing energy security concerns due to COVID-19.1 The government has also prioritised the modernisation of existing fossil fuel plants and refineries, while cancelling the fourth clean energy auction. Mexico has not updated its energy sector mitigation targets along with its updated NDC and BAU published in 2020, so the most recent sectoral emissions reduction targets are from 2016.

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Baseline scenario target

NDC target

Conditional target:

  • 36% below BAU by 2030 (incl. LULUCF).
  • 5% below 2015 by 2030 (excl. LULUCF )(638 MtCO₂e/yr).11
  • Reduce black carbon 70% below BAU by 2030 (incl. LULUCF).

Unconditional target:

  • 22% below BAU by 2030 (incl. LULUCF).
  • 5% above 2015 levels by 2030 (excl. LULUCF) (774 MtCO₂/yr).11
  • Reduce black carbon by 51% below BAU by 2030.

Market mechanism

  • Current NDC does not indicate the use of market mechanisms in its implementation.

Long-term target

  • The General Law on Climate Change sets a target to reduce national GHG emissions 50% below 2000 levels by 2050 (incl. LULUCF).12

Sector coverage

EnergyIndustryWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄NF₃HFCsN₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Energy

  • Original NDC (2016) indicated an emissions reduction target for oil and gas to 118 MtCO₂e by 2030. However, the revised BAU from 2020 projects oil and gas emissions in 2030 to be 101 MtCO₂e, which would result in no effective emissions reduction.13,14

Transport

  • Reduce transport sector emissions to 218 MtCO₂e in 2030 compared to BAU projections of 250 MtCO₂e.13,14

Buildings

  • Reduce emissions to 23 MtCO₂e in 2030 compared to BAU projections of 28 MtCO₂e.13,14

Agriculture

  • Reduce emissions to 86 MtCO₂e by 2030 compared to BAU projections of 122 MtCO₂e.13,14

Note: Sectoral targets are calculated using the revised BAU projections by sector from the updated NDC (2020) along with the sectoral reduction targets outlined in the original NDC (2016); no revised sectoral targets were given in the updated NDC.

Power

  • “Clean energy” power generation of 30% by 2021 and 35% by 2024; Mexico defines “clean energy” including nuclear power, CCS and efficient cogeneration in addition to renewables.15
  • 40% renewable power by 2034 and 50% renewable power by 2050.3,16
  • Reduce emissions to 139 MtCO₂e in 2030 compared to BAU projections of MtCO₂e.13,14

Waste

  • Reduce waste sector emissions to 35 MtCO₂e in 2030 compared to BAU projections of 56 MtCO₂e.13,14

LULUCF

  • Reduce LULUCF emissions to -14 MtCO₂e in 2030 compared to BAU projections of 34 MtCO₂e, achieving net negative LULUCF emissions.13,14
  • Mexico’s REDD+ National Strategy 2017-2030 (ENAREDD+) aims to achieve 0% net deforestation rate by 2030.17

Footnotes