CERES Conference on Energy and Sustainable Development

The reason for my trip to Puebla last week was to participate, as a late addition, in a conference entitled Energía para el Desarolla Sustentable en América del Norte, or Energy for Sustainable Development in North America.  The conference was hosted by CERES, the Centro de Estudios de Desarollo Regional y Estratégicos (Center for Regional and Strategic Development), which is a working group organized by professors at the local universities in Puebla — I’m tempted to write UDLA, la Universidad de las Americas, but I’m not positive.  Now that the acronyms are out of the way….

The conference had a dual focus on energy and sustainability, but, from the outset, it wasn’t clear as to how the boundaries that define “sustainability” had been set.  For example, many of the speakers focused on or at least mentioned the prospects for deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  Of course, maintaining Mexican energy “independence” (in quotes because Mexico produces enough oil to satisfy domestic demand but lacks the processing capabilities) is one part of a sustainable system, but it wasn’t until the end of the conference that climate change and global warming were highlighted.  

Perhaps it’s me, but in a world where carbon emissions are likely to be restricted and where a carbon cap of one flavor or another is likely to be eternally placed on every country, emphasizing the prospects for Mexican oil drilling seems, at least to me, unsustainable.  That said, I don’t think this was an artifact of the organizers of the conference (in fact, I thought they did a very good job), but rather a view into the general perception in Mexico, in which climate change just isn’t a part of the national debate.  After all, whereas SEMARNAT, the division of the federal government tasked with developing Mexican climate change policy, made a brief appearance at the CEDAN conference in January, they were absent here.

However, the eternal optimist in me sees reason to believe that the tides will soon change.  The Mexican economy is too dependent on the rest of the world, specifically the U.S., for Mexico to remain isolated.  If the rest of the world pursues a more “sustainable” path, I can not but see that Mexico will follow this path, as well.  The more important question that I am unable to answer is whether Mexico will win or lose as a result of a shift in global tides.  Although I am certain that Mexico can come out far ahead, as this blog is only semi-anonymous, I think it best that I stop here….


México, D.F.


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