Historic California-Mexico agreement boosts international climate collaboration

July 28, 2014

Jennifer Andreassen, jandreassen@edf.org, +1-202-572-3387

(MEXICO CITY/ Washington – July 28, 2014) California and Mexico formally agreed to cooperate on a range of climate change and environment issues from pricing carbon pollution to reducing deforestation and promoting clean vehicles during an event co-sponsored by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Mexico’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). California Governor Jerry Brown and SEMARNAT Undersecretary of Planning and Environmental Policy Rodolfo Lacy Tamayo signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the first full day of Governor Brown’s trade and investment mission to Mexico.

“The deepening collaboration between Mexico and California is exactly the sort of leadership the world needs on climate change,” said Nathaniel Keohane, EDF’s Vice President for International Climate, who spoke alongside senior government officials from California and Mexico in the panel discussion preceding the MOU signing.

“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,” Keohane said. “In doing so they can demonstrate concrete progress on practical solutions to address the common challenge of climate change.”

California has long been viewed as a leader in addressing climate change. Its Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) provides the blueprint for climate action in California and sets an absolute statewide limit on greenhouse gas emissions. AB 32 includes a suite of policies including energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and cap and trade. Cap and trade went into effect in January 2013 for large polluters in the state, and will include transportation fuels starting in January 2015.

“One of the key takeaways from this agreement is that California’s AB 32 program, and signature cap-and-trade policy, is successful and yet again attracting important partners from around the world,” said Lauren Faber, EDF’s West Coast Political Director and a delegate to the Governor’s trade and investment mission. “California and Mexico are already culturally and economically linked in many important ways, so it makes sense to link our respective environmental visions as well.”

“California and Mexico have a lot at stake with climate change, and the collaboration underscores the enormous opportunities for a low-carbon future that goes hand-in-hand with economic prosperity on both sides of the border,” Faber said. “They should be applauded for working together to put North America on the leading edge of the low-carbon economy.”

This agreement, also signed by Jorge Rescala Pérez, General Director of Mexico’s National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), states California and Mexico will cooperate and coordinate efforts on climate change, wildfires, air quality and clean vehicles. The Memorandum of Understanding identifies the following as priority action areas that will allow California and Mexico to respond to climate change while supporting sustained economic growth:

  1. Reporting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through approaches that include: working together to strengthen greenhouse gas reporting programs, sharing the design of programs that have lowered emissions and promoted low-carbon development, and exploring mutually beneficial ways to align emissions reductions programs and strategies
  2. Developing carbon pricing systems and market-based instruments that address climate change
  3. Promoting emissions reductions from deforestation and forest degradation
  4. Promoting renewable energy
  5. Controlling carbon, methane and short-term climate pollutants
  6. Cooperating to advance multilateral and subnational action on climate change, including between Mexican states and California

Mexico’s 2012 General Law on Climate Change (LGCC) aims to increase renewable energy use, sets ambitious goals to curb domestic emissions, and establishes a high-level climate commission that is authorized to create a domestic carbon market. Mexico’s latest energy reforms also breathe new life into prospects for making the energy sector cleaner and opening the door to green growth in the long run and lay the groundwork for the country’s transition to a green growth future.

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