Climate Change in Mexico – How it is affecting the Caribbean

Climate Change in Mexico – How it is affecting the Caribbean. Mexico is located in North America and covers a total surface area of 1,964,375 km2. The country shares a northern border with the United States and its southern border with Guatemala and Belize, its western coast is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico on its eastern coastline. Mexico has a highly diverse topography and climate conditions. – Climate Change Knowledge Project

Climate Change in Mexico – How it is affecting the Caribbean

The country has designated 12% of its territory as protected areas and has over 7,000 km2 of mangrove forests. Mexico has the 12th largest forest area worldwide. It is known as a “mega-diverse” country, home to 60 – 70% of all known biological diversity on earth; representing 12% of the world’s total! 

Climate Change in Mexico - How it is affecting the Caribbean

how is Mexico affecting climate change?

Mexico is the second-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the Latin America and Caribbean region. The energy sector is the most significant contributor to the country’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for more than 70 percent of total emissions. Like in most countries, the agriculture and livestock sector is an additional important source of emissions (14 percent). The forest sector in Mexico is a “net carbon sink,” removing more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it emits. Nearly half of Mexico is covered by forest – a total of 88 million hectares. – USAID

Climate Change in Mexico - How it is affecting the Caribbean

Notice the “red tide” or mounds of decaying algae in my Cancun beach photos? Scientists have warned that the algae is a grave new threat to the Caribbean, not just Cancun.

The black “sand” you see along the beach shore is the old decaying algae, it comes from the giant clumps of seaweed being washed ashore. When it is in the open ocean, the algae support birds and other sea life. But when washed ashore, as they start to decay they become an environmental nightmare. The decaying algae are harmful because they emit hydrogen sulfide fumes that kill fish, coral, and seagrass.

Climate Change in Mexico - How it is affecting the Caribbean
Red tide in Akumal

It also causes headaches and nausea in people- especially those that must clean it each morning before the tourists arrive. When not cleared, the algae become piled high blocking endangered sea turtles from reaching the shore to lay their eggs.

Mexico’s geographic characteristics make it a highly vulnerable country to the adverse impacts of climate change. Its location between two oceans, as well as its latitude and topography significantly increase Mexico’s exposure to extreme hydro-meteorological events.

Climate Change in Mexico - How it is affecting the Caribbean

What the Mexican Government is Doing About Climate Change

The government is committed to reducing emissions and supporting the necessary mitigation and adaptation activities in order to reduce its vulnerability and protect the livelihoods of its people. Adaptation focus is on key sectors such as energy, agriculture, waste, land-use, forestry, and coastal zones.

Over the last several years, the Government of Mexico has rolled back support and investment in renewable energy and instead prioritized fossil fuel projects. In December 2020, the Government of Mexico submitted an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement that retains the same targets submitted in 2015 but does include more measures for climate adaptation and natural climate solutions.

Climate Change in Mexico – How it is affecting the Caribbean

Mexico beach pollution
Mexico Tulum Oceanfront Beaches

Key goals under Mexico’s NDC include:

  • By 2030, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent and black carbon emissions by 51 percent over a business-as-usual scenario.
  • Reach a net-zero deforestation rate by 2030.
  • Prevent and manage negative impacts of climate change among communities facing the most significant social inequalities.
  • Promote sustainable and resilient food production systems.
  • Conserve and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Protect strategic infrastructure from the effects of climate change

KEY PROGRAMS to combat climate change in Mexico

Sustainable Landscapes Ventures: This activity will mobilize investment capital to enable smallholder farmers to implement solutions that reduce deforestation, and forest degradation to grow local economies. Interventions will help targeted regions overcome financial barriers and catalyze commercial investments in sustainable supply chains that preserve forests and improve livelihoods.

Alliance for Sustainable Landscape and Markets (Rainforest Alliance)

Sustainable Management of Community Lands II (Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible): How Securing Community Land Rights Can Slow Climate Change and Accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals

Applying the “LandScale Assessment Framework” in Mexico (Rainforest Alliance)

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