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Mexico Sectors

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

Power sector in 2030

1.5°C pathways show that Mexico’s power sector could be fully decarbonised by 2040, and contribute to negative emissions thereafter. To achieve this, the share of renewable energy in the power mix would need to reach at least 75% by 2030, and coal and gas would need to be phased out by 2029 and 2038–2040, respectively. Decarbonising the power sector at this rate would allow Mexico to get on a 1.5°C compatible pathway without having to rely extensively on the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches.

In its mid-century strategy, the Mexican government considers nuclear, CCS and co-generation as “clean energies”. However, Mexico’s “clean” energy targets of 40% of the power mix by 2034 and 50% by 2050 are not in line with Paris-compatible pathways.21

Towards a fully decarbonised power sector

Decarbonising Mexico’s power sector by 2040 in line with 1.5°C compatible pathways would require drastic policy changes. The fossil fuel share in the power generation would need to fall from 80% in 2019 to between 8–20% by 2030. Fossil fuels should be fully phased out from the power sector by 2040. Investing in a steep increase in renewable energy over the short term is safer than relying on carbon removal technologies given the latter’s commercially unproven nature. However, Mexico has currently no plans to phase out unabated fossil fuels from the country’s power mix.

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 power mix

terawatt-hour per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
20192030204020501 0001 500
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
Low energy demand
20192030204020501 0001 500
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
  • Renewables incl. biomass
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

Mexicoʼs power sector emissions and carbon intensity


  • Historical emissions
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • 100%RE
  • Low energy demand

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

Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
30 to 110
−30 to 0
Relative to reference year in %
−93 to −75%
−108 to −100%
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
0 to 1
Share of unabated gas
7 to 14
2038 to 2040
Share of renewable energy
76 to 92
98 to 100
Share of unabated fossil fuel
8 to 20