In late 2020, Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, launched its Climate Action Plan (CAP) in a bid to develop an early strategy for a green transition. The CAP is aligned with the Paris Agreement and Mexico’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and was awarded the United Nations (UN) Global Climate Action Award in the Climate Leader category at the COP26 climate summit. We believe the city’s action to curb climate change and transition to green sets a blueprint for other metropolitan areas around the world to follow.
Guadalajara's Strategy for Climate Action
Guadalajara’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) sets out three principal objectives. The firm’s aim is to achieve a carbon-neutral metropolis based on integrated waste management, non-motorized mass mobility, efficient energy use, and a renewable energy supply. The second is to create an inclusive, sustainable, and climate-resilient metropolis. And the third is to ensure a coordinated, participatory, and inclusive metropolis with climate leadership. The CAP includes eight strategies to achieve these goals, with 136 planned actions for implementation.
The city’s government plans to massively expand cycle routes in Guadalajara, from 237km in 2021 to 436km in 2024. We expect this will encourage people to reduce their car use and improve public health. To date, the construction of new cycle paths is thought to have cut 17 million car trips, or the equivalent of 1,000 tons of carbon emissions each year. This has been supported by the development of the city’s first fully electric public transport route, on which 38 busses run.
The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy
The Tlaquepaque and Tonalá municipalities of Guadalajara have representatives in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM). The EU-funded organization provides the largest representation of cities and municipalities combatting climate change in the world. It includes representatives from 10,700 cities in 140 countries, covering around 11% of the world’s population.
The GCoM has supported progress in tackling climate change in other Mexican cities, including Bahía de Banderas, Ciudad Madero, Culiacán, Juárez, Chihuahua, Mérida, and Puebla.
Ambitious Climate Goals Present Opportunities
In the urbanization of Guadalajara, which has been shifted from being a mainly agricultural region to an urban metropolis over several decades, several watercourses have been altered and many ecosystems lost. The city is under threat of landslides in irregular settlements, where many low-income populations live. The government plans to develop a sustainable water management system to support the urban population. One way is by improving the quality of the water in the Santiago River, one of the country’s most polluted rivers. In addition, Guadalajara will make greater use of its groundwater sources.
The city government also aims to cut air pollution by introducing stricter regulations on energy consumption, public and private transportation, and waste management over the coming decades. We believe that stricter controls on these sectors, as well as financial incentives for the adoption of green energy technologies, could support a successful green transition in the city.
Approximately 37% of Mexico’s population resides in 10 metropolitan areas across the country. We believe that the adoption of Guadalajara’s CAP strategy in other urban areas could help to ensure a more cohesive countrywide approach to tackling climate change.
Our Outlook Remains Positive
We expect the implementation of Guadalajara’s Climate Action Plan to help the city to reduce pollution and improve the quality of life for its residents, while ultimately supporting the combat of climate change. If successful, we believe the strategy could be replicated in Mexico’s other urban areas, as well as elsewhere in Latin America.