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General Manager highlights BECC's work at COP 16

Posted on January 03, 2011

General Manager highlights BECC

On December 9th, 2010, Climate Action Reserve (CAR) hosted the California-Mexico Collaboration Panel, one of the side events at the Cop 16 held in Cancun, Mexico. The purpose of the panel was to present alternatives in the carbon bonds market from a regional perspective. The conference was a venue to showcase the advancement in collaboration efforts undertaken to meet climate change goals in the area of methane capture protocols for sanitary landfills, and livestock operations, and reforestation protocols.

BECC’s General Manager presented the efforts of this binational organization en the climate change topicThe panel was moderated by Linda Adams, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to Maria Elena Giner, General Manager of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC), participants included Adrián Fernández, President of Mexico's National Institute of Ecology (INE); Blas Pérez Henríquez, Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley; Ricardo Martinez, Deputy Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency; and Raul Félix Saúl, from the Baker & McKenzie law firm.

INE President Adrián Fernández, from the standpoint of a Mexican negotiator, gave a report of the development of COP 16 negotiations to date. He said "this has been a great diplomatic and consultation effort made by colleagues throughout the year," and he underscored that during this cycle, confidence in the process has been restored, and "Mexico's role has helped move forward" to align issues such as mitigation (with major progress having been made on the issues of reforestation, transparency and monitoring of greenhouse gas emission reductions), adaptation and funding, including the Green Fund endorsed by the Mexican government.

Mr. Fernandez emphasized the importance of establishing collaboration with California to make the most of supplementary climate change schemes offered by the California state government. The INE official sees "a very promising outlook in CAR's regional work on various climate change protocols, such as reforestation."

Blas Perez from the University Berkley highlighted the importance of institutional capacity in the issues of climate change Blas Pérez, from the University of California Berkeley, talked about his university's decade-long collaboration efforts to build up institutional capacity for climate change planning at the federal and state levels. He said there are good signs that the California carbon bonds initiative may be incorporated to a regional market. He noted this effort may become a demonstration program for the North American region. California Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Secretary Ricardo Martinez reported that the state government has hosted twelve workshops for Mexican border states and agencies to exchange information regarding climate change. Workshops for border states have been held in collaboration with CAR and Center for Climate Strategies, while climate change planning workshops have been hosted jointly with the BECC. Mr. Martinez stated that he perceives this as a major area of opportunity for collaboration.

BECC General Manager Maria Elena Giner spoke about the work of this binational organization throughout the border, including 175 projects certified at a cost of nearly US $4 billion, to benefit more than 13 million residents with the construction of infrastructure related primarily to water and wastewater, sanitary landfill management and disposal, and air quality improvements. She stated that the inventories of greenhouse gas emissions prepared and endorsed by the BECC for the six Mexican border states show the potential for the development of environmental infrastructure for transportation, energy conservation, renewable energies, and methane capture, which may receive funding under the BECC/North American Development Bank (NADB) scheme.

Raul Felix-Saul assessed the Mexican initiatives in climate changeRaul Félix, from Baker & McKenzie, discussed Mexico's climate change strategy. His law firm has assessed legislation and regulatory reforms, including those related to energy conservation, promotion of renewable energies, biofuel industry development, and the transition to a low carbon economy. In his opinion, these actions are targeted to the energy sector, which is controlled by the State, and the investments required to achieve the goals proposed for this sector must be borne by all users, and this carries an indirect cost. He said the approval of a climate change bill that includes more ambitious goals and objectives is still pending at the Mexican Senate. He recognized the efforts made by the Federal Government, and encouraged attendees to become familiar with other similar and successful initiatives, such as those in California, or regional mitigation programs like the ones featured at this panel. He also spoke about the need to take advantage of the federal involvement in these efforts.

Linda Adams moderating the panel of expertsIn closing the panel, Linda Adams highlighted the active role of President Felipe Calderon, regarded by California as "a champion of climate change." She wished great success to this summit conference, and underscored the good relationship between Mexico and the United States on this issue.




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