In June 2013, Mexico took a big step toward a low-carbon economy and improved public health by implementing a new fuel-efficiency standard for light vehicles– the first fuel-efficiency standard in Latin America. EMBARQ Mexico played a major role in developing this new standard, writing the draft regulation, proposing mechanisms for economic flexibility, and assisting the government of Mexico during the negotiation process.
National fuel-efficiency standards are critical tools in reducing CO2 emissions and improving public health. Yet, Mexico was the only OECD country without a fuel-efficiency standard, and Mexican car manufacturers were hesitant to support a new fuel-efficiency regulation.
For four years, EMBARQ and our partner, Centro Mario Molina, collaborated with the Mexican government to help develop a new fuel-efficiency standard. Originally, EMBARQ Mexico offered the Mexican government our transport and economic expertise. Then, when negotiations between the government and the car industry broke down, EMBARQ and Centro Mario Molina stepped in and presented Mexico’s National Environmental Ministry (SEMARNAT) with a fully written draft regulation and strong technical support. This draft brought the automotive industry to the negotiation table, and won EMBARQ a voting seat on Mexico’s National Standardization Committee of Environment. Finally, on June 21, 2013, the final fuel-efficiency standard was released, with recognition for EMBARQ’s contributions published in the official journal text.
The new standard mandates a new vehicle fleet average of 14.9 kilometers per liter of gas (or 35 miles per gallon) by 2016. This will reduce CO2 emissions by 170 megatons– the amount of CO2 captured by a forest 10 times the size of Mexico City. It’s a win for people and the environment – consumers will save $2,700 USD each in fuel over the lifetime of a regulated vehicle.
In addition, Mexico patterned their standard on U.S. and Canadian regulations, meaning these three countries now have a harmonized fuel-efficiency standard. Mexico exports 81 percent of its cars to the global market, so this regulation could make the Mexican car industry more competitive globally.
The Mexican experience, tools, and methodology can be replicated in other developing countries that are in the process of implementing fuel-efficiency standards. Furthermore, expanding this regulation to other countries creates incentives for an increasingly homogeneous and more efficient global automotive industry.
EMBARQ Mexico is part of the EMBARQ network. EMBARQ is a program of the World Resources Institute. EMBARQ helps cities make sustainable transport a reality.
A year after its inaugural meeting, the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) left its fifth meeting in Paris earlier this month with a collective sense of urgency. The GCF is expected to become the main vehicle for disbursing climate finance to developing nations, so the decisions made at this most recent meeting significantly impact the future of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Encouragingly, Board members stepped up to the important task before them, making progress across several key issues. Their decisions made it clear: The GCF’s inception phase (referred to officially as "the interim period") is over—the focus now is on funding it and launching its operations.
Seventy percent of Latin Americans live on less that $3 a day. That’s 360 million people with a combined purchasing power of $510 billion. WRI is looking at how to meet the needs of poor communities through pro-environment private sector strategies and catalyzing investments by companies and development agencies. This new approach was adopted by the Inter-American Development Back (IDB), one of the largest development aid agencies working in Latin America, when it launched a five-year, multi-billion dollar poverty reduction initiative. “Building Opportunity for the Majority” focuses on economic empowerment for the poor through the support of private-public opportunities. IDB is the first development bank to make a commitment of this size, giving this innovative market approach enormous credibility and visibility.
The global market for wood and other forest products is changing quickly. The industry has long struggled to address the problem of illegal logging, which damages diverse and valuable forests and creates economic losses of up to $10 billion a year. In some wood-producing countries, illegal logging accounts for 50-90 percent of total production.
But recent developments indicate that we may be turning a corner: Illegal logging rates worldwide have declined by about 20 percent since 2008.
This was the topic on everyone’s minds at the recent Forest Legality Alliance meeting in Washington, D.C. This meeting brought together nearly 100 members and experts representing a wide array of companies, trade associations, NGOs, and governments involved in the harvest, manufacturing, and trade of legally produced forest products.
This post was written by Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile and a member of the high-level advisory panel for the Climate Justice Dialogue. The Climate Justice Dialogue project is a joint initiative between WRI and the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice. This piece originally appeared on Reuters Alertnet.
It’s become abundantly clear that in order for the world to reach an international climate agreement by 2015, the usual approach isn’t going to work. World leaders need to find common ground and work toward solutions. They need to engage their citizens and infuse new passion into the issue. Climate change is not just an environmental issue – it is one of the great moral tests of our times.
In Chile, we know all too well the impacts of climate change, marked in particular by more frequent droughts and increasing water scarcity. This affects people and our economy across sectors, from agriculture and manufacturing to mining and energy. Sadly, the people most affected by climate change are the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.
In the face of this challenge, we need a new narrative that engages people and presents the issue as a social and economic story rather than as just an environmental one. We need to create a world in which people prosper but without increasing pollution. This is not a distant dream, but a real possibility.
UPDATE, 4/19/13: Fourteen Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries adopted an ambitious Plan of Action to improve access rights on April 17, 2013. Read WRI's press release for more details about the Plan of Action for the LAC Principle 10 Regional Declaration.
Many of these conflicts occur because countries lack strong laws and practices that encourage the public’s access to information and early participation in government decision-making. Without these laws in place, citizens can’t legally obtain information on projects like proposed oil wells or highways—or engage in the decision-making processes about developing and approving these projects. Governments can then make decisions without considering the impact on local citizens. The resulting social, environmental, or health costs often fall disproportionately on the affected communities. (See our video, "Sunita," for more information on the need for access to information laws).
But the situation in the LAC region could be poised to change, depending on what happens at a meeting this week. Representatives from 13 countries and two observer countries will meet with civil society groups in Guadalajara, Mexico, to finalize a two-year action plan on implementing the LAC Principle 10 Regional Declaration. If attendees come up with a strong plan, several LAC countries will come closer to adopting a plan for improving environmental justice and public participation rights across the region.
This post is based on a release that originally appeared on the CEMDA website.
According to a new study by the Mexican Finance Group – 16 NGOs, including CEMDA, that work on environmental, budget, gender equity, and human rights issues – the funding currently allocated in Mexico’s budget for climate change mitigation and adaptation is insufficient for meeting the goals the country has established for 2012. The group, created in 2010, agrees that international finance is necessary to complement domestic investment in order to achieve Mexico’s emissions targets, but they affirm that first and foremost it is necessary improve the national budget allocation to begin the transition towards a low carbon development path.
In 2002, EMBARQ founded CTS-México—a Mexican nongovernmental organization staffed with transport engineers, urban planners, and policy experts—and partnered with the Mexico City government to develop a bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor on a high-profile avenue running through the heart of the Mexi