Economic development and a climate protection policy are not incompatible. This is what Brazil and Mexico want to demonstrate by initiating discussions with their most polluting economic sectors. The aim is to encourage them to adopt low-carbon development strategies.
Companies, like governments, have their share of responsibility in climate change. Yet while most governments have set targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, this is not the case for the majority of companies around the world.
This is what Brazil and Mexico are about to change. The two countries are going to launch a project which aims to encourage companies from the most polluting economic sectors to set ambitious paths to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or, in other words, to adopt their own climate plans.
Energy consumption rising
The two countries are today experiencing difficulties in reconciling their economic development with the conservation of the environment. In Brazil, in recent years, the rise in the standard of living of the population, urbanization and the growth in road transport have led to an increase in national greenhouse gas emissions. Mexico, for its part, has been continuously increasing its energy consumption since the 1990s, while it is mainly based on fossil fuels – 80% today.
Brazil and Mexico have set out to address this situation by creating a mechanism to facilitate dialogue on the fight against climate change between public actors, experts and companies. This is a first, especially because it does not involve obliging companies to adopt strategies to reduce their carbon intensity, but encouraging them to implement them on their own initiative.
To achieve this, they will be able to draw on the experience of two French organizations which are firmly committed to the climate: the Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) and Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). The first has built a method to analyze the low carbon strategies of companies – Assessing Low Carbon Transition – and will coordinate the project. The second is currently conducting a study to identify all the means available to countries to make a transition towards an economy with low CO2 emissions.
Project replicable in other countries
In Brazil, the sectors selected in the scope of the project concern power generation, cement production (30% of GHG emissions from the country’s industrial sector in 2012) and agriculture (a third of national greenhouse gas emissions in 2014).
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Mexico is also banking on an in-depth change in electricity and cement production methods and is going to tackle the pollution caused by road transport (31% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2014).
This joint project is set to be launched in January 2019 and will last over two years. The French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) has contributed half of the project’s financing with a EUR 762,000 grant.
This State-industry dialogue on low-carbon energy should eventually be reproduced in other countries. This is, in any event, the desire of the project initiators, who have designed it so that it can easily be replicated elsewhere, thereby giving new hope in these times of climate emergency.
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