June 30, 2009
Passage of climate change legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives last Friday was the United States’ first step in a more robust, forward-looking policy to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. But look to the other side of the Rio Grande and you’ll find a country that is showing new leadership in going green.
Yes, the outlook for Mexico may be somewhat grey these days if you're looking at the economic situation or the loss in tourism revenue. But Mexico is fast becoming one of Latin America’s best examples of how a government can address climate change and open the door for greater use of alternative energy.
Mexico’s role is quite welcome in a region that lags behind the world in terms of its investments in alternative renewable energy and in fighting climate change. In 2007, Latin America produced just 1.7 percent of global renewable energy, including wind, solar, geothermal, and small hydro energy. This correlated with the region’s ability to attract a meager 3 percent of the $87 billion globally invested in renewable projects. And while Latin America may not be a big contributor of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, climate change is intensifying tropical rains, tornados, hurricanes, and dry seasons across the world. Mexico and the rest of the region stand to lose out by not taking action now.