A rare opportunity to improve the health of Mexico’s environment and economy

12/4/2017 Environmental Defense Fund

This post originally appeared in Spanish on El Universal.

Not often is a pollutant referred to as an environmental and economic opportunity. But that’s exactly what methane is for countries looking for cost-effective climate solutions and a way to prepare for the 21st century energy economy. And it’s especially important for Mexico right now, as changes in energy laws have opened the doors to a slew of new exploration projects that could reshape Mexico’s oil and gas industry and boost economic growth through 2025.

Methane is the main ingredient of natural gas. When burned, natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels. But when it escapes unburned, as it does across the global oil and gas industry, methane is 80 per cent more powerful a heat-trapper than carbon dioxide in the short term. Methane also contributes to local air pollution, including smog, and the health impacts that come with it. It’s not just countries that are aware of this. A growing number of investors and energy companies are responding to the reputational threat of uncontrolled methane emissions.

Released last week, the International Energy Agency’s latest World Energy Outlook articulates the methane challenge very powerfully. Its analysis shows that with current technologies the oil and gas industry can drastically reduce methane emissions by 75 percent worldwide – and that up to two thirds of those reductions can be realized at zero net cost. What’s more, the IEA says that just the cost-effective reductions would have the same climate impact in 2100 as immediately closing all the coal plants in China.

Read the full article on EDF’s Energy Exchange Blog…



Baja California fishing leader released by Mexican authorities

12/3/2017 The San Diego Union Tribune 

Source: Mikko Koponen/Flickr

The leader of the largest fishing federation in San Felipe was released from jail on Sunday after being arrested late last month, an event that prompted protests calling for his release from federal custody.

A federal judge ordered the release of Sunshine Rodriguez and his wife, Sara Ahumada, after finding no grounds to hold them for trial, said his attorney, Enrique Acosta Fregoso. The judge “decided that the accusation by federal prosecutors was not supported,” said Acosta.

There was no immediate statement from the federal attorney general’s office, the PGR.

Rodriguez had been accused by federal agents of transporting a kilo of liquid methamphetamine, Acosta said. High-level officials in President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration said he was under investigation for trafficking in the swim bladders of the giant totoaba fish, an endangered species found only in Mexico’s Gulf of California.

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Under the volcano: A Mexican village fears earthquakes, not ‘Don Goyo’

colima11/13/2017 The Los Angeles Times 

They live under the volcano, literally, but their fears are not focused on the latest torrents of smoke, ash and flaming stones belching from “Don Goyo” — as the Popocatepetl volcano is known in these parts, with equal measures of respect and affection, and surprisingly little dread.

“We are all accustomed to Don Goyo and his emanations, his fumarolas, his furies,” said Rosalina Rojas Garcia, 55, as she paused one recent afternoon while walking down the main drag of San Antonio Alpanocan just 10 miles from the volcano. “We have lived with Don Goyo all our lives.”

Instead it is another aspect of Mexico’s geological vulnerability — earthquakes — that drives the anxiety prevalent these days in San Antonio and other towns and hamlets hugging the signature volcano.

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Mexican oil regulator approves first withdrawal of contract

11/07/2017 Reuters

energy - oil pumpsMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s oil regulator on Tuesday voted to begin the process of withdrawing an onshore contract, the first time such an action has been taken since landmark measures to open up the country’s energy sector came into effect.

The contract was won at auction in late 2015 by Mexican company Canamex Energy Holdings in association with two other firms and covered the Moloacan block in eastern Veracruz state.

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Mexico says endangered vaquita porpoise died in captivity

11/5/2017 ABC News

Photo by Talia Cohen on Unsplash

Researchers were thrilled to have captured one of the few remaining vaquita porpoises, but announced Sunday that the adult female died after a few hours in captivity in a floating pen, raising questions about the last-ditch effort to enclose the world’s smallest porpoises to save them from extinction.

Critics, and even supporters of the international rescue effort, knew the plan was full of risks: The small marine mammals native to Mexico’s Gulf of California have never been held in captivity, much less bred there.

But with estimates of the remaining population falling below 30, the international team of experts known as Vaquita CPR felt they had no choice. In late October, researchers captured a vaquita calf but quickly freed it because it was showing signs of stress and was too young to survive without its mother.

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Switching on Remote Communities through Electricity Access in Mexico

11/1/2017 The World Bank

Innovation2Centralized solar farms were installed in 40 locations distributed among 8 Mexican states—Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guerrero, Nayarit, San Luis Potosí, and Sonora—to provide electricity to extremely remote, primarily indigenous communities previously lacking energy access due to difficult installation and servicing conditions. The project reached indigenous peoples in 18 of the 40 benefited communities. By the project’s closing, a total of 2,235 households had electricity access through the installation of 2,357 kW of new renewable capacity.

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After Massive Quakes, Millions in Mexico Turn to Early Warning App

10/19/2017 New York Times

SkyAlert Logo
Source: skyalert.mx

MEXICO CITY — Since two massive earthquakes hit Mexico in September, claiming more than 460 lives, an early warning start-up called SkyAlert has doubled its users to 5.8 million, making it one of the country’s most downloaded apps.

SkyAlert has also found a market selling alarms to small businesses in the capital, said its co-founder and director Alvaro Velasco. And it is looking to expand to Latin America, mainly Colombia, Peru and Chile, which lack an official alerting system despite frequent quakes in those countries.

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