Mexico is officially joining the cadre of nations seeking to limit climate change, with a formal promise to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions.
The country is one of the first to issue a plan for emissions reduction as part of a cooperative international effort that is being coordinated by the United Nations.
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Even more significant is that Mexico is the first developing nation to pledge cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, according to The Brookings Institute.
Under the plan, Mexico established a peak year for its emissions, in 2026.
Tallest known Mayan temple in Mexico, at Cobá, Yucatan Peninsula [photo: John Voelcker]
It will also work to reduce emissions 22 percent from 1990 levels by 2030.
In addition, the government promises a 50-percent cut in "black carbon"--emissions from burning diesel, wood, and other fuels that cause immediate warming impacts, and produce particulates that are harmful to human health.
The plan represents Mexico's "Intended Nationally Determined Contribution" (INDC)--a formal plan called for ahead of a U.N. climate-change summit in Paris later this year.
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The U.N. is asking more than 190 countries to submit these plans by March 31, but only a handful have complied so far.
Mexico's plan is only the fourth submitted so far, after the European Union, Switzerland, and Norway, reports Bloomberg.
As a developing nation, Mexico's participation could be crucial to the success of the climate-change negotiations.
Main entrance to Volkswagen's new engine plant in Silao, Mexico
A major issue in climate-change policy is reconciling the wealthier nations that have historically produced the most pollution with poorer nations that are trying to grow their economies--and are producing more greenhouse-gas emissions in the process.
The Paris negotiations are expected to be the first to extract major concessions from both sides.
The U.S. has said it will pledge to cut emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, and is expected to submit its plan by the end of the month.
It will reportedly assist Mexico in developing efficiency standards for vehicles and appliances, as well as increase use of clean-energy sources.
Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico
Fossil fuels are used to generate an "overwhelming majority" of Mexico's electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Yet--as part of a climate-change law adopted in 2012--Mexico hopes to introduce more renewable sources.
By 2024, the government wants 35 percent of the country's electricity to come from renewables, up from 3 percent now.
State-owned utility Comision Federal de Electricidad is also expected to use more natural gas as fuel in place of oil.