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About the Author: Sarah Goldfarb serves as DipNote's Associate Editor. Sarah will be providing information from presentations about key climate programs and scientific research at the U.S. Center at the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-16) in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 through December 10, 2010.
Climate change is a major priority for the both the United States and Mexico. Wearing a "Guayabera" shirt, which is traditional attire in the southeast region of Mexico, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual moderated the discussion on the U.S. and Mexico's commitment to bi-national cooperation on climate change and development. Members of the panel included Julia Carabias Lillo of CEIBA, Celia Pigueron of Semarnat, Fernando J. Gama of Evensen Dodge International, and Manuel Gomez Pena of Walmart. The program was divided into English and Spanish-language portions, and members of the audience were given headsets so they could understand the entire presentation.
Celia Pigueron explained Semarnat's cross-cutting vision to addressing climate change. Semarnat is Mexico's cabinet-level department of the executive branch responsible for developing environmental policy and legislation. She said that Mexico's Climate Change Program (PECC) fosters national efforts on climate change during a five year period from 2008 to 2012, and sets the groundwork for continued efforts beyond 2012.
Ambassador Pascual emphasized the importance of partnerships between the government and the private sector. Fernando J. Gama explained that Evensen Dodge International, a financial company, is working with U.S. Embassy Mexico and the Government of Mexico to carry out reforms to the legal framework of pension funds at the federal level. He said that these reforms are enabling Mexican states to finance renewable energy systems.
Finally, Manuel Gomez Pena highlighted Walmart's corporate responsibility in Mexico and Central America. Pena discussed key initiatives to use renewable energy and reduce waste. He said that a goal of Walmart's is to have 50 percent of energy used at stores supplied by renewable energy. To achieve this goal, Walmart of Mexico and Central America has 27 wind turbines in Oaxaca that will use wind power to operate 348 stores. In addition, Walmart is working to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015.
In closing, Ambassador Pascual said, “In the end, all of these efforts matter.” He stressed that we need to change the way we think about the world, and how we think about energy. “We need to create policies to leave the next generation the type of life want to give them.”
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