As Mexico’s year-long presidency of the 16th edition of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP16) drew to a close, ProMéxico hosted the Green Solutions conference and exposition November 23 – 25, 2011 in Mexico City. The event consisted principally of three days of panel discussions on public policy related to climate change, amidst an exposition area featuring innovative products and services aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and overall depletion the world’s natural resources. The first edition of the Green Solutions conference took place during the COP16 international conference held in Cancun one year ago.
The conference provided an excellent opportunity for those involved or interested in climate change mitigation to exchange perspectives on the outlook for greenhouse gas reduction and learn about projects and initiatives taking place in various parts of the world. With the COP17 conference kicking off in Durban, South Africa today, at the forefront of discussion is the question of what will happen once the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012. The agreement currently establishes ostensibly binding greenhouse gas reduction targets for participating developed nations, and key signatories such as Japan, Russia and Canada are showing little enthusiasm for re-upping once the current period concludes.
Green Solutions provided a welcome focus on the role of the private sector in the development and implementation of measures to mitigate climate change. Important players such as Mexican multinational cement producer Cemex and Mexico’s state-run oil and gas monopoly Pemex participated in the forum, sharing their experiences in areas such as strategic environmental planning and carbon credit markets. Individual panels took on the nuts and bolts of implementing environmental policies in industries such as automotive manufacturing and construction, and others walked participants through project finance and public-private partnerships.
A panel discussion on carbon markets called attention to the uncertain outlook for financing environmentally friendly development through emissions permits. Between plummeting prices for carbon credits in Europe and concerns over the viability of the market for certificates should the Kyoto Protocol collapse in 2013, an existing source of project finance for Mexico may be at risk. Mexico has the second largest number of development projects financed by carbon credits in Latin America, according to the Monterrey Technological Institute’s Global Sustainability Institute. Nonetheless, at least one industry consultant speaking at the panel on carbon markets expressed optimism on the future of the mechanism based on current demand.
Read about our participation in the Mexico Today program here.