Pronatura and Climate Change
Climate Change is a complex global problem that presents a critical challenge for humanity because of its environmental, social, cultural, economic and political consequences. In order to reduce the possible consequences for the future, it's important therefore to work at the local, regional, national and international levels.
Aware of the threat that Climate Change poses for environmental conservation, Pronatura Mexico has developed a Climate Change Program based on the following four key components
a. Public Policy
Because of Mexico’s geographical position, it has a high vulnerability to Global Climate Change and its effects. Future scenarios of the possible consequences for our country include the loss of forests, crops, vegetation changes, desertification and draught, water scarcity, coastal flooding, among others.
Mexico’s capacity to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects depends mostly on its public policies. In this sense, Pronatura has taken the initiative to promote and support the adoption of policies oriented towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, as a strategy to safeguard our biodiversity.
- To promote before different governmental instances the discussion, elaboration and adoption of public policies relative to climate change in Mexico, emphasizing the promotion of green energy alternatives and the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- 2006. Pronatura was invited to be part of the Technical Advisory Committee of the National Forest Commission (CONAFOR, in Spanish) which promotes the payment of environmental services and encourages the conservation of ecosystems to mitigate climate change.
- 2005. Pronatura presented before Congress an initiative to modify the 27th article of the Mexican Constitution to include conservation as a valid use of land and avoid the current misperception that lands dedicated to conservation are unproductive. This reform is aimed at increasing conservation areas and to reduce deforestation.
- 2004. Pronatura collaborated with other institutions in the creation of a Program to develop an Environmental Services Market in Carbon Sequestration (PSA-CABSA, in Spanish). The purpose of this program is to mitigate climate change by offering conservation alternatives for forest ecosystems which absorb important quantities of carbon dioxide.
- 2002. Participation in the drafting process of the Law on Sustainable Forest Development which recognizes and promotes environmental services payment.
- 2000. Pronatura organized a visit to Costa Rica for a group of Senators from the Environmental, Natural resources and Fisheries Commission of the Senate. The purpose of the trip was to study Costa Rica’s experience in environmental services payment and carbon markets.
b. Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Since the industrial revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels (CO2) have increased 33% due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. This increase of CO2 and other greenhouse gases has provoked a rise in global temperatures (global warming) and currently represents one of the most serious problems for the conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity.
Among the different recognized solution alternatives to reduce carbon dioxide is carbon sequestration and fixation. Plants naturally incorporate carbon, through a process called Photosynthesis, in order to transform it into sugars. Forests, jungles, grasslands and other ecosystems constitute natural carbon sinks.
In Mexico, the disappearance of jungles and forests is a serious problem. If current deforestation rates continue, calculations indicate that by the year 2060 we stand to lose our jungles and by 2120, we may have no more forests at all.
The present Project promotes Carbon sequestration through restoration and reforestation activities in forest ecosystems. In this way, we are able to restore Mexico’s forests while helping reduce one of the main greenhouse gases (CO2) responsible of global warming.
• Sequestrate carbon through the restoration of forest areas in priority sites.
- Recover degraded areas of biological importance in the country.
- Diminish current deforestation rates in the central-west region.
- Create awareness among local communities on the importance of forest conservation.
- Provide important environmental services such as the reduction of soil erosion, aquifer recharge, and biodiversity conservation.
- Coca-Cola Project: is set to plant 30 million trees in 25 sites in the nest 5 years to restore priority watersheds.
- Colorado River Delta Reforestation Project: this project proposes to reforest 485 hectares (1,198 acres) with Poplars (Populus sp.) and Willows (Salix sp.).
- Agrosaline Project in the “Ejido Johnson”: plans to plant agrosaline cultivars in 50 ha (123 acres) of land with Athel Pine (Tamarix aphylla), salt grass (Distichlis spicata) and native mesquite trees.
- Environmental Restoration Project for the Iztaccíhuatl – Popocatépetl National Park: after successfully reforesting 213.8 ha (528 acres) with pine trees (Pinus hartwegii), this project now intends to restore an area of 699.8 hectares (1,729 acres).
- Environmental Education and Restoration Project of the Mid-Ajusco: it aims to reforest 30 ha (74 acres) with oaks (Quercus) and shrub trees (Sedum, Oxipetalum, Furcraea, bendinghausii, Dodonea viscosa, Buddleia cordata y Agave sp.).
c. Communication Campaigns
The potential effects of global climate change and mitigation actions are urgent issues that must be given attention to in our country. Pronatura is committed to distributing information on climate change through communication campaigns, forums and workshops, to create awareness and develop more practical and effective methods to mitigate its effects.
- Organize a “Forum on Climate Change and its Effects on Biodiversity” with different key actors in the subject to propose a Latin-American action strategy that involves different sectors of society to reduce risks to biodiversity posed by climate change.
- Implement information and awareness campaigns to change the attitude of citizens by providing more information on the consequences of our consumption patterns and providing alternatives to reduce our day to day emissions.
- Pro Natura Magazine: for the People, for the Earth. The magazine contains a wide range of articles, written by national and international experts, on biodiversity and environmental issues.
- During all of 2007, Pronatura Mexico, in alliance with Paramount Pictures, will program the exhibition of the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” with discussion forums in universities, schools, companies and local governments.
- In November 2006, Pronatura Mexico, jointly with United International Pictures, organized the premier to the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, produced by the American ex vice-president Al Gore, which focuses on Climate Change.
d. Work with Socially Responsible Corporations
The greenhouse gases (GHG) present in the atmosphere are the main cause of climate change, and their emissions are associated to the activities of industrialized societies such as electricity generation, transportation, industrial and manufacture, to name a few.
Companies play a key role in reducing GHG emissions for they contribute to climate change mainly through the use of electricity in their offices, transportation of staff as well as of clients and suppliers.
In industrialized countries, consumers are increasingly demanding that companies become socially and environmentally responsible through the adoption of actions to reduce their GHG emissions. Nonetheless, sometimes companies lack the support or guidance on how to reduce their emissions. For this reason Pronatura, a conservation leader in Mexico, promotes different actions in support of socially and environmentally responsible companies who wish to contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions, specifically carbon dioxide (CO2).
- Reduce the greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) of companies located in Mexico City.
- Create awareness on the effects of greenhouse gas emissions generated by the company and promote proper actions.
- Quantify the carbon dioxide emissions generated by the company.
- Promote adequate measures for the company to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.
- Involve the company in projects that mitigate and compensate their emissions.
- In April 2007, Pronatura quantified the CO2 emissions of the Kiehl’s store in Mexico City over a three month period (transportation and use of electricity) to generate awareness and to promote their reduction and neutralization.
- In March 2007 Pronatura quantified some of the CO2 emissions of its General Assembly (transportation and electricity) to create awareness among participants as well as to raise funds for reforestation activities to neutralize these emissions.