The announcement has been welcomed by NGOs who say it will help set the pace globally for the much needed increase in ambition ahead of this year’s UN climate negotiation in Lima, Peru.
Preliminary estimates from WWF show that the target – which would mean the country almost doubling its electricity output from renewable sources to 80 TWh by 2018 – could reduce emissions from the power sector by 15%.
Omar Vidal, WWF-Mexico’s Director General said:
This not only means an ambitious, short-term renewable energy target for Mexico, but helps create trust and confidence among all governments in the run-up to the Lima conference, and sets the pace for other countries in Latin America with similar potential.
All countries, developing and developed, must show leadership at this crucial time.
The renewable energy target will be based mainly on wind and solar, and commentators hope it will be supported by commitments to help independent renewable energy production.
While in the short-term the target will help provide some much needed momentum towards closing the gigatonne-gap to 2020 – and put pressure on larger emitters to embark on similar efforts – energy minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said the target will serve as a starting point for post-2018 renewable targets.
Vanessa Pérez-Cirera, WWF-Mexico’s Climate and Energy Programme Director says Mexico says doubling the country’s renewable electricity output over 6 years will be an achievement with its ever increasing energy demands.
Importantly, the new renewable energy target generates higher certainty and incentives for renewable energy investors and project developers. The biggest remaining gap for a quantum leap on renewables in the country is the still lacking medium and long-term renewable energy targets… that would boost certainty for the much needed long-term renewable energy investments.
In 2012, Mexico became the second nation in the world to enact national climate change legislation.
It also saw a 595% increase in domestic clean energy investments in 2012, up to $1.9 billion, showing important progress on its climate ambitions.
Earlier this year, President Enrique Peña Nieto presented the country’s National Climate Change Strategy, laying out a domestic plan for reducing emissions and promoting resilience.
The plan was based on eight axes of action – as well as the basic goals of increasing research and international cooperation – including reducing vulnerability to climate change, accelerating clean energy and reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants.
This week’s announcement is the latest in a series of ambitious plans coming out of the emerging economies over recent weeks.
Last week, China announced plans to triple its solar energy output by 2017, while the office of India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared this week that by 2019 every home should run at least one light bulb - powered by solar energy.
Such announcements are seen as critical in setting the pace for the coming year’s climate talks, in Lima Peru and Paris, France in 2015, where a new global climate deal is to be agreed by all parties.
Green groups hope the latest moves will be the much needed push for other big polluters, including the US and Australia, to make similar announcements.
“The science is out and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made it very clear: if we do not decarbonise our energy sector and shift renewable energy soon, chance to tackle climate change are no existent,” said Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate & Energy Initiative.
“So this move bodes well for further ambitious country level actions.”