Mexico wants binding climate accord at 2010 summit

AP News
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Posted: Dec 24, 2009 6:21 PM

Mexico will push for a binding international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions when it hosts the next climate change summit in Mexico City in the coming year.

Mexico seeks to accomplish what the recent Copenhagen conference failed to do _ get developed and poorer nations to agree to a 50 percent emissions cut by 2050, as compared to 2000 levels, according to a statement issued by the Environment Department Thursday.

A historic U.N. climate conference ended earlier this month with only a nonbinding accord _ after two weeks of debate and frustration _ that was short on concrete steps against global warming.

The agreement brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama with China and others set up the first significant program of climate aid to poorer nations. Although it urged deeper cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming, it did not require them.

Critics are now calling the accord window dressing to cover deep divisions between China and the U.S. and poor and developed countries and say that the conference was a failure.

Mexico's statement Thursday did not say how it would resolve the fractious debate and acknowledged it is "a big challenge for the country." A formal date for the 2010 conference has yet to be set.

Mexico has long cast itself as a bridge between developed nations _ it is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development _ and smaller, poorer countries.

The Mexican government says environmental degradation, pollution and consumption of nonrenewable resources costs the country about 7.8 percent of its economic output annually.

Air pollution, water depletion, deforestation cost the country 872 billion pesos ($67.6 billion) in 2007, the most recent year for which data was available, according to a report published Thursday by the National Statistics, Geography and Information Institute.

The country's GDP was about 11.17 billion pesos ($866 million) in 2007.

The biggest costs involved air pollution (about 4.5 percent of GDP) and oil and gas consumption, equivalent to about 1.5 percent of GDP.

The biggest sources of pollution and energy consumption came from households, transportation, mining and agriculture.

Mexico spent only about 0.7 of its GDP to offset the environmental costs through conservation, reducing emissions and other measures, and the department said such spending would have to be almost 10 times greater to truly affect the damage.