Wednesday, December 8, 2010

México Greenísimo

More stories on Mexico becoming greener: Felipe Calderón has announced that over the next four years, Mexico will phase out incandescent light bulbs, resulting in their total elimination from the market starting in 2014; and Ernesto Cordero promised in Cancún to reduce Mexican emissions by 50 percent by 2050 and to do more to attract private investment in green technologies. He also said that the government had set aside $4.5 billion for "actions of mitigation".

I'm not sure either of these promises will come off, nor do the $4.5 billion really convince me that there is a legitimate green spending push in the offing (exactly what programs are being funded with that?), so all this amounts to is an aesthetic adjustment. Still, aesthetics do matter, and the belief that environmentally beneficial programs should matter could later lead to them actually being given more significant and sustained attention. It will also hopefully lead to modified behavior from Mexicans themselves, such as greater purchases of hybrid cars and more recycling, which is very rare in Mexico despite being common practice for two decades in the US. Furthermore, lodging the idea of Mexico as a green paradise in minds of the international media will probably generate some stories in the future, and help to counter the prevailing image of Mexico as little more than a capo killing field. (This supposition is based on the steadfast belief that media narratives describing Mexico are quite superficial.)


Paul Roberts said...

Regarding the supposed greening of Mexico, there is a good article in last Sundays Proceso about Cancún which shows that although it was first conceived and designed as showcase for sustainable development, in the end greed and corruption took over.

Furthermore, the very hotel in which they are having the UN conference is itself built on a mangrove swamp and never complied with the law about change of use of the ground.

pc said...

That's not a shocker, neither that it's happening nor that Proceso is reporting it. The hotel is a nice touch. There's no question that Mexico's not a very green society, but I do think the fact that you have so many people from all across the political spectrum paying lip service to environmentalism could translate into greater attention and practical action at the level of the masses.

Paul Roberts said...

I'm not so sure. It could mean that people think something is being done whilst really it is "business as usual"- another example of "green washing"

Also I think that many people in Mexico are preoccupied with financial survival and/or personal survival due to the insecurity which mans that their focus is very short term and an environmental focus needs to be long term.

pc said...

Yeah that may well turn out to be the case, but I do think that if you have to choose between leaders offering rhetorical nods toward the importance of green friendly policies and them not doing so, the first option is more likely to accompany actual changes in policy. That doesn't mean that it necessarily will, but it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Mexican leaders aren't even moved to speak about environmentalism yet still enact more green friendly policies.