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Mexico Sectors

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

Power sector in 2030

Mexico’s power sector could be fully decarbonised by 2040, and contribute to negative emissions thereafter. To do this, the power mix would need to reach at least a 76% share of renewable energy by 2030 and phase out of coal and gas by 2028 and 2038-2040, respectively. This would enable the achievement of a 1.5°C pathway, without having to rely extensively on the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR).

Mexico’s “clean” power targets of 40% of the power mix by 2034 and 50% by 2050 are not in line with Paris Agreement compatible pathways.

Towards a fully decarbonised power sector

Achieving zero emissions in the power sector by around 2040 would require drastic changes in policies to enable the required transformation. Unabated fossil fuels would need to be reduced to at least 9-20% of power generation by 2030, and 0% by 2040, from roughly 80% of current power generation. Remaining emissions from unabated fossil fuel post-2030 will need to be compensated by CDR approaches such as BECCS, DACS or others. Investing in such a steep increase in renewables over the short term is a less risky option given the commercially unproven nature of negative emissions technologies. However, Mexico currently has no plans to phase out unabated fossil fuels from the power mix.

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 power mix

gigawatt

Scaling
Dimension
SSP1 Low CDR reliance
2019203020402050400600800
SSP1 High CDR reliance
2019203020402050400600800
Low Energy Demand
2019203020402050400600800
High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
2019203020402050400600800
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Renewables incl. Biomass
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

Mexicoʼs power sector emissions and carbon intensity

MtCO₂/yr

Unit
05010015019902010203020502070
  • Historical emissions
  • Low Energy Demand
  • 100%RE
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance

1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks

Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Mexico

Indicator
2019
2030
2040
2050
Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
gCO₂/kWh
410
30 to 110
0
−30 to 0
2039
Relative to reference year in %
−93 to −75%
−100%
−108 to −100%
Indicator
2019
2030
2040
2050
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
Percent
8
0 to 1
0
0
2029
Share of unabated gas
Percent
58
7 to 14
0
0
2038 to 2040
Share of renewable energy
Percent
17
76 to 92
98 to 100
100
Share of unabated fossil fuel
Percent
80
8 to 20
0
0

Footnotes