3/30/2015

Mexico´s CO2 Submission Curveball

Mexico’s foreign and environment ministries presented their emission´s goals for 2030, sent to UN “Global War on Climate Change” headquarters.  

The Mexicans claimed their goals represent a 25 % reduction “versus the business as usual case”. I found the slides  (in Spanish) at a Mexican government website, so I can confirm they pulled a fast one. They assumed that “under business as usual” their emissions would increase from 781 (2013)  to 1110 (2030)  million tons of CO2 equivalent. Then they prepared a “goal” for 2030: 829 million tons.

Draw a cartoon in your mind, 781, a line up to 1110, which sits on top of the 829. 

Mexican Mariachis singing a song 
(photo from Reuters, Andrew Winning)

I went ahead and interpolated the 2015 emissions levels: 817 million tons of CO2 equivalent. Their goal, 829 million tons, wow, that´s 1 %,  a teensy bit over the 2015 figure. Not bad for a country full of Catholics and Evangelicals who will have lots of babies and are hoping to grow GDP by a whopping 3.3 % a year.


I really hate cluttering the blog with tables, but I felt like crunching numbers today, so I stuck the Mexican figures in a spreadsheet, and prepared some tables (they are shown below).  Bottom line, under normal circumstances the Mexicans would have a hell of a time achieving those objectives.

Mexican government submission in tiny letters
 (skip this and keep reading, it´s only for the record)

However, Mexico´s oil production is declining (uhu, they hit peak oil). Unless they get cracking  they are going to be importing oil in a couple of years. And they already import coal and natural gas. So it makes a lot of sense to increase energy efficiency, they need it to keep their trade balanced.

The Mexicans also implied they expect to have 3.3 % GDP growth. That´s a hell of a lot of growth when compounded over 15 years. But they also have an increasing population, and I don´t think they can ship all  the surplus to Gringoland. This means the REAL change, and their REAL goal is a 60 % decrease in the country´s  emissions intensity  (in emissions per unit of GDP, say million metric tons per billion Mexican pesos). That´s a tall order.

 The Mexican  proposal is a small emissions  increase 

Finally, I decided to see how Mexico compares with other Latin American nations. And I decided to play dirty, I compared them with Argentina and Brazil. Mexico burns a lot of fossil fuels and has very little hydropower and nuclear I picked those two countries because I know they are really into hydro, nuclear, biofuels, and so on.

Mexico´s use of non fossil energy, when 
compared to Argentina and Brazil, kinda sucks 

So what do I think about the Mexican submission to the UN bureaucrats? I think it´s pretty good. Mexico has made a nice sounding declaration, which keeps the greens and Obama happy, and it sure looks like they got themselves a breather and an angle to get some money from the USA and EU.

Obama being happy with Mexican
 president Enrique Peña Nieto

The Mexicans  got 15 years to buy their renewables, stabilize their oil consumption rate, and fix their oil industry. If they don´t get their act together they will be road kill. I don´t think they got what it takes to be importing lots of oil after prices go above $100 per barrel, as they surely will.


The term “business as usual” is sheer baloney, the 21st century ain´t got no business as usual. 


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