Mexico Pledges To Hit Peak Emissions By 2026

03/27/2015 06:58 pm ET | Updated Mar 30, 2015
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WASHINGTON -- The Mexican government pledged to hit peak emissions by 2026 in an announcement made Friday.

Officials also said that Mexico will cut its emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases by 22 percent by 2030, and will reduce its black carbon emissions by 51 percent. The country said it will reduce its emissions intensity, or the amount of carbon pollution per unit of gross domestic product, by 40 percent between 2013 and 2030.

The White House has applauded the announcement, which carries particular significance as Mexico is both a neighboring economy to the United States and the first major emerging economy to put such a commitment on the table. Mexico's submission comes ahead of the next major United Nations meeting to hash out an international climate accord, slated for December in Paris.

"We think this sets an incredibly important example for other major emerging economies," a White House official who was not authorized to speak on the record told The Huffington Post. "The timeliness, as well as the clarity, ambition, unconditional nature and strong policies that back it up -- all that sets the pace for Paris."

“Today Mexico became the first developing country to put forward its draft proposal to the U.N., reaffirming its leadership on climate change," said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute. "While the devil is in the details, Mexico’s plan to peak its emissions by 2026 is particularly encouraging and should inspire others to follow a similar course."

Under a framework established by the United Nations, individual countries are putting forward their own emissions commitments, referred to as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs. Countries are supposed to submit their INDCs to the U.N. by March 31.

Thirty-one other countries, mostly European Union nations, have submitted their INDCs so far. The United States has yet to submit its contribution, though President Barack Obama has said the U.S. will cut emissions to 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

The White House issued a joint statement Friday from Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to "underscore the importance of jointly addressing climate in their integrated economy."

"Smart action on climate change and developing clean energy can drive economic growth, and bring broad security, health, and development benefits to the region," read the statement. "The two countries will seize every opportunity to harmonize their efforts and policies towards their common climate goals."

According to the statement, the U.S. and Mexico are also launching a "new high-level bilateral clean energy and climate policy task force" to work on energy and environmental challenges. That group will be co-chaired by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Mexican Energy Secretary Juan José Guerra Abud. Their first meeting is slated for this spring.

The White House official told HuffPost they hoped the task force would "harmonize and accelerate climate progress" between the two nations.

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