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Mexico Ambition gap

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

1.5°C compatible pathways

Mexico’s updated 2020 NDC was revoked following a lawsuit for rolling back the government’s initial commitment, which goes against the Paris Agreement’s principles of non-regression.18 During COP27, Mexico submitted an updated NDC which includes both an unconditional and conditional target relative to a BAU scenario. Mexico unconditionally commits to reducing emissions by up to 35% by 2030. Of that, Mexico intends to achieve 30% with its own resources and an additional 5% with already agreed international cooperation for “clean energies”. Furthermore, Mexico commits to reducing its emissions by 40% from the BAU level by 2030 on the condition that it receives adequate international support.

Mexico’s conditional NDC target which translates into a 5% emissions increase above 2015 levels to emissions decrease of 6% below 2015 levels by 2030, excluding LULUCF, is not consistent with 1.5˚C compatible domestic pathways. Our analysis indicates that Mexico would need to reduce emissions by 40–56% below 2015 levels by 2030 (excl. LULUCF) to be 1.5˚C compatible. This would mean reaching emissions levels of 338–441 MtCO₂e in 2030.19

Long term pathway

To align with a 1.5˚C compatible pathway, Mexico’s mid-century GHG emissions should be around 64 to 133 MtCO₂e/yr, excluding LULUCF, equivalent to reductions of around 80–91% below 2015 emissions levels.31

The pathways that show a higher share of renewable energy by 2040 show less or no reliance on carbon dioxide removal technologies. Some scenarios show a full decarbonisation of the energy sector as soon as 2040.

Some scenarios show a full decarbonisation of the energy sector as soon as 2040. The projections also suggest that agriculture and industry processes will be the last sectors to decarbonise.

1 Gobierno de México. Contribución Determinada a nivel Nacional. Actualización 2022. 1–45 Preprint at (2022).

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

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

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

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

6 Gütschow, J., Günther, A. & Pflüger, M. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series v2.3 (1750-2019). Preprint at (2021).

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

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

9 US EIA. Mexico.(2020).

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

11 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).

12 Ember. Yearly electricity data. (2022).

13 Climate Analytics & New Climate Institute. Mexico Climate Action Tracker 2022 update. (2022).

14 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.

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

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

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

18 Greenpeace Mexico. NDC DE MÉXICO DEBEN SER MÁS AMBICIOSOS Y PROGRESIVOS. Greenpeace Mexico. (2021).

19 Climate Analytics & New Climate Institute. Mexico Climate Action Tracker 2022 update. (2022).

20 Tornel, C. Petro-populism and infrastructural energy landscapes: The case of Mexico’s Dos Bocas Refinery. Nordia Geographical Publications 49, 6–31 (2021).

21 World Resource Institute. Mexico: Policymaking to Ensure Energy Justice in Renewables Development. (2021).

22 IEA. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Energy 2021 Edition. (2021).

23 Mexico Government & Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. Mexico: Third Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the UNFCCC. (2022).

24 Mackres, E. & Loutfi, F. El potencial de Mexico para liderar en edificaciones cero carbono. WRI Mexico. (2020).

25 Chavez, I. Edificios con eficiencia energética, diminuyen hasta 25% de consumo energético. Factor Energetico. (2022).

26 Mexico Government, Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales & Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático. Mexico. National Inventory Report (NIR) 1990-2019. (2022).

27 Guerra, E. & Guillén, J. Leyes de Eficiencia Energética en Latinoamérica y el Caribe. (2021).

28 Climate Analytics & NewClimate Institute. Mexico Climate Action Tracker. (2022).

29 Statista. Electric Vehicles- Mexico. Statista. (2022).

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

31 Reporte Indigo. (2022, September 15). Infraestructura en electromovilidad en México, escasa y lenta – Reporte Indigo.

32 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 total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Net zero GHG excl. LULUCF*
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
NDC (conditional)
NDC (unconditional)
Ambition gap
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
2030 emissions levels
Current policy projections
NDC (conditional)
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 2015

Energy system transformation

The most ambitious 1.5˚C compatible pathway analysed here suggests that to fully decarbonise Mexico’s energy mix would require unabated fossil fuel consumption to almost halve by 2030 from 2017 levels. As Mexican economy continues to rely on oil,20 the government needs a plan to transition away from this fossil fuel and onto a Paris compatible pathway. The share of renewable energy should more than triple by 2030 from 8% of the total primary energy mix in 2017. However, the Mexican government continues to prioritise investment in oil and gas for post-pandemic recovery.2


Mexicoʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
201920302040205010 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
201920302040205010 000
Low energy demand
201920302040205010 000
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
201920302040205010 000
  • Renewables incl. biomass
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

Mexicoʼs total CO₂ emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂/yr

  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Historical emissions

1.5°C compatible emissions benchmarks

Key emissions benchmarks of Paris compatible Pathways for Mexico. The 1.5°C compatible range is based on the Paris Agreement compatible pathways from the IPCC SR1.5 filtered with sustainability criteria. The median (50th percentile) to 5th percentile and middle of the range are provided here. Relative reductions are provided based on the reference year.

Reference year
Reference year
Year of net zero
incl. BECCS excl. LULUCF and novel CDR
Total GHG
Megatonnes CO₂ equivalent per year
338 to 441
123 to 237
64 to 133
Relative to reference year in %
−54 to −40%
−83 to −68%
−91 to −82%
Total CO₂
180 to 314
−29 to 141
−42 to 32
2039 to 2064
Relative to reference year in %
−66 to −40%
−106 to −73%
−108 to −94%