Mexico and California sign climate and clean energy pact

Joint working agreement covers carbon pricing, renewable energy and deforestation

Governor Jerry Brown visited Mexico City on a trade mission (Pic: kc_aplosweb/flickr)

Governor Jerry Brown visited Mexico City on a trade mission
(Pic: kc_aplosweb/flickr)

By Megan Darby

Mexico and California have formally agreed to collaborate on climate action in a historic pact signed on Monday.

California governor Jerry Brown inked the memorandum of understanding with Mexican environment minister Rodolfo Lacy Tamayo as part of a trade and investment mission to Mexico City.

Priorities include developing carbon pricing, curbing deforestation, promoting renewable energy, controlling short-term climate pollutants and cooperating in diplomatic efforts.

Brown said: “California can’t do it alone and with this new partnership with Mexico we can make real progress on reducing dangerous greenhouse gases.”

The two economies, which share a 136-mile border, have a “long and rich history of environmental cooperation”, said Tamayo.

The agreement will “take our joint work to a whole new level,” he added.

The Environmental Defense Fund NGO, which co-sponsored the event, hailed the deal as “exactly the sort of leadership the world needs”.

Nathaniel Keohane, EDF vice president on international climate issues, said: California and Mexico can give a crucial boost to the growing global momentum on key policies like carbon pricing that can achieve ambitious reductions in climate pollution, drive clean energy innovation, and promote low-carbon prosperity.”

Jointly responsible for more than 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, California and Mexico have also been among the leaders on climate action in the Americas.

The Globe Climate Legislation Study named Mexico the “standout country in 2012 on climate change”.

It was praised for passing comprehensive climate change law and laying the groundwork to protect forests through the UN’s REDD programme.

Last year, the country introduced a voluntary carbon exchange, allowing polluters to offset their emissions.

Despite imposing no binding obligations on companies, the platform proved popular with organisations wishing to show their green credentials.

Report: Mexico eyes economic benefits of climate law

Meanwhile, Brown picks up the baton from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who as governor pledged to lead the way on US climate action.

Schwarzenegger’s administration brought in a cap and trade system for carbon pollution, which has yet to be replicated at a national level.

In a personal contribution to the cause, the former action movie star converted his fleet of fuel-guzzling Humvees to run on biofuel and hydrogen.

Californian citizens are being asked to save water as the state experiences one of its severest droughts ever.

President Barack Obama has cited the drought as a reason to act on carbon emissions. Climate change will make such weather-related disasters harsher and costlier, he said.

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