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Our new paper, published in Energy Strategy Reviews, shows how Mexico can play its part towards the Paris Agreement targets through and in-depth multi-sector transformation which must begin today.  The analysis was done in partnership with Evolved Energy Research as part of the DDP-LAC project coordinated by IDDRI and funded by the IADB, AFD, and ECF.

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January 2021


This paper lays out technology and emissions pathways for Mexico under two scenarios: one representing current policies, and the second in line with the Mexico playing its part in the achievement of the Paris Agreement. Comparing them highlights important challenges and suggests concrete recommendations for national policy. The multi-sectoral analysis develops pathways of both technology rollout and behavioral change consistent with the findings of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. This helps identify the core transformations Mexico must undertake to reach the Paris goals, and the time frames for doing so.

The Deep Decarbonization Pathway (DDP) methodology combines results from different analytical tools and models to create a consistent whole-economy set of numbers across all sectors, which in turn informs high-level narratives that take from the different sectoral pathways to create an overarching story of change. Noteworthy sectoral findings include:

  • Electricity and transportation were modeled together in an innovative approach which analyzed the technological transformation of both generating assets and the vehicle fleet as well as the rollout of their supporting infrastructures. This detailed fleet accounting presents the necessary rates of uptake of new technologies, along with the corresponding rapid reduction and decommissioning of high-carbon incumbents.

  • The oil and gas sectors are driven by this decline in demand, which is accompanied by commensurate reductions in global markets as the world’s leading economies follow their own decarbonization pathways (numerous countries have already pledged to achieve net zero on or around the mid-century mark).

  • The industrial pathway combines significant uptake of well-understood efficiency and best practice measures which with a drive towards innovative processes and products in the more polluting sectors, as well as the future market in zero-carbon fuels which will include Hydrogen and Hydrogen-base products, Synthetic Hydrocarbons, and Biofuels (as constrained by food security and ecological stewardship).

A vision of sustainable management of agriculture, forestry, and land use complements the above energy system analysis. For this, the two guiding ideas are:

  • Deforestation will be reduced and reversed to ensure CO2 capture by forests increases over time, 

  • Widespread uptake of technical improvements across the main crop and livestock activities will ensure a consistent reduction of absolute emissions

Furthermore, absolute emissions from both solid and liquid waste are significantly reduced through widespread uptake of best practices which are not currently prevalent in Mexico.

In conclusion, the profound changes needed to face the climate challenge cannot all be delivered at the same time through incremental adjustments to the current development pathway. It is therefore necessary to adopt a new paradigm of sustainable social and economic development which will shape policy, regulation, public prices, and social attitudes. While it is encouraging to see a technically feasible pathway to Paris, the challenges involved must not be underestimated. Mexico cannot postpone transformative action if it is to succeed.

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