FEATURE STORY

Latin America, Pioneering Laws to Cope with Climate Change

April 12, 2013


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MP Alfonso Perez Gomez, of Costa Rica; Sergio Jellinek, External Affairs Manager World Bank-LAC, MP Cedric Frolick, of South Africa; Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Sustainable Development Director World Bank-LAC; MP Marisa Ortiz, of Mexico; MP David McGuinty, of Canada, and Adam Matthews, Secretary General of Globe International.

World Bank

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mexico is the second country in the world to adopt a law to protect itself from global warming.
  • Parliaments are increasingly working on specific laws to address the effects of climate change.
  • Our region will continue to be a pioneer in terms of low carbon development initiatives.

The most recent scientific evidence suggests that if we do not start taking immediate action, the planet’s average temperature will be 4 °C higher than current levels by the end of the century. The problem is that measures designed to address this reality tend to incur political costs.

Because of this, the Globe International organization has been working since 1989 to unite the efforts of parliamentarians from around the world that have decided to place their commitment with the environment above party interests.

“Despite our political differences, there is one thing over which we cannot be fighting all the time with our parliamentary colleagues, the environment,” explains Barry Gardiner, British parliamentarian and president of Globe International’s board.

Executives and members of the organization met this week in Washington with US legislators and representatives from international organizations such as the World Bank to present their most recent study on the progress made by climate legislation. The study was produced in cooperation with the Grantham Research Institute and the London School of Economics.

The Example of Mexico

The study, presented by Adam Matthews, General Secretary of Globe International, covers 33 countries, 31 of which have passed a specific law on the environment and measures to protect it.

Mexico stands out among them; the first developing country, the only one in Latin America and the second one in the world to have passed a General Law on Climate Change, approved in 2012. 


" Despite our political differences, there is one thing over which we cannot be fighting all the time with our parliamentary colleagues, the environment. "

Barry Gardiner

British MP and Chairman of the Board of Globe International

Marisa Ortiz, Deputy for the state of Puebla from the opposition National Action Party (PAN) and president of the Mexican chapter of Globe International, explained that the issue is so important to her country that they managed to pass the law despite having been debated in the midst of the presidential election campaign.

The GLOBE chapter in Mexico consists of 53 legislators (Deputies and Senators) from the seven political parties represented in Parliament.

“We hope that this serves as a model for other countries,” said Deputy Ortiz, adding that the first challenge facing parliamentarians was to explain the law to State bodies, including the Executive, and thus be able to apply it.

The example of Mexico has already inspired countries such as Costa Rica. Deputy Alfonso Perez Gomez, from the governing National Liberation Party and president of the Costa Rican Congress’ Permanent Commission on the Environment, stated that his country is working on a law similar to Mexico’s.

The World Bank’s Director of Sustainable Development for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, maintained that with the Mexican law and similar ones in Colombia, Brazil and other countries, the region will continue to be at the global forefront in terms of pro-environment initiatives, while stating that the World Bank will be working closely with the Globe initiative in Latin America.