On December 17, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Mexican Center for Environmental Law filed a petition under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the replacement for the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement.
The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically increased reliance on single-use plastics, resulting in a plastics pollution crisis faced by many countries around the world. A French environmental nongovernmental organization recently released a video showing masks and gloves littering the seabed of the Mediterranean Sea.
On May 16, Mexico's education ministry cancelled schools in the capital and surrounding areas due to elevated levels of air pollution. Weather conditions combined with dozens of brushfires burning in and around the city have produced a blanket of smoky haze, triggering city authorities to declare an environmental emergency earlier in the week. On May 16, the Environment Department announced that firefighters are combating an average of 100 fires a day in brush, scrub, agricultural, and forest land through the country.
On March 21, the Mexican government announced that it would use buoys to mark the reserve of the vaquita porpoise in an effort to save the world's most endangered marine mammal. The Environment Department plans to provide social programs and jobs for fishing communities in the upper Gulf of California, where the species resides, and to encourage tourism, fish farms, and better fishing practices. With only roughly 10 vaquitas remaining, some environmental groups stress that more urgent measures are needed to save the species from extinction.
The Nature Conservancy and the state government of Quintana Roo announced the creation of a Coastal Management Trust, the world’s first insurance policy for a coral reef. The policy aims to protect the Mesoamerican Reef, a 600-mile-long coral reef second only to the Great Barrier Reef in size. The reef is insured under a parametric policy that applies when certain conditions occur; in this case, if a Category 4 or 5 hurricane hits a 37-mi (60 km) stretch of the coast. When the policy is triggered, an immediate payout to repair and restore coral reefs occurs.
Last week at the C40 Mayors Summit, four cities—Athens, Mexico City, Madrid, and Paris—committed to ban diesel-fueled automobiles in their cities by 2025, a move applauded by many environmental supporters. Diesel-fueled vehicles had previously been championed for emitting less carbon dioxide than gasoline-powered vehicles. The ban comes after local governments became attuned to the local pollution effects of diesel vehicles, in particular nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which manufacturers have been slow to resolve.
On December 31, 2015, Peru’s Minister of Production passed a resolution that banned fishing of manta rays, among other stipulations. The resolution requires that mantas that are caught must be released immediately back into the ocean. The largest known populations of giant manta rays live in Peru and Ecuador. Ecuador began protecting manta rays in 2010, and Peru’s new ban adds to this protection. Other countries, including the Republic of Maldives, Mexico, and the Philippines, have passed regulations for manta ray protection.
Mexican president Felipe Calderon signed into law a bill adopting binding targets on greenhouse gases last week. Mexico is ranked 12th among the world’s highest carbon emitting countries, although it accounts for only 1.5 percent of global emissions. The measure was passed by the Senate by 78 votes to none in April and commits the nation to a 30 percent greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2020 and a 50 percent reduction by 2050. In addition, the law will require renewable energy to account for 35 percent of Mexico's energy mix by 2024 and will establish a permit trading scheme.