In the midst of a climate crisis Northern Mexican States such as Coahuila are feeling the heat—drought has plagued the region for the last 3 years. Yet residents feel forgotten, mining makes up 50% of the local economy, and as the country transitioned to renewables thousands of men were left jobless.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Amlo) Mexico’s President is planning to reopen Coahuila’s coal mines and purchase 2m tons of thermal coal from the region’s small producers.
“We’re reactivating the industry. We definitely believe in climate change and alternate forms of producing energy have to be pursued. But we need to advance bit by bit.” —Arturo Rivera Wong (mine owner)
Amlo’s vision: energy sovereignty
State-run Pemex and CFE (Federal Electricity Commission) pump petroleum and generate electricity. On the other hand private and foreign investors have been heavily involved in Mexico’s renewable transition since 2013. Amlo’s plan is to centralize the country’s electrical grid once again—under the control of Pemex and CFE. Obviously emissions and commitments are disregarded in this power move.
“I’ll put obstacles in the path of the private sector, which invested most in renewables and I’ll put most of my efforts – and at least 80% of the budget – into fossil fuels.”—Anaid Velasco, research director at the Mexican Center for Environmental Law says about the new policy
Amlo’s plan is a clear example of shortsighted demonstrations of control—exactly what is causing the climate crisis to begin with. There is evidence that green recoveries can create more jobs than they take away. The government should be strategizing on how to create jobs in the state of Coahuila rather than opting for the easy way out: mining. In the end it is Amlo’s transparent game: buy easy votes for the next elections from desperate regions—completely avoiding the elephant in the room that is about to implode: drought.