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Mexican voters elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador president on July 1 largely based on his promises to solve the country’s most devastating domestic problems: rampant violence, economic inequality and widespread corruption. Mr. López Obrador, however, also has the chance to catapult his country into a leadership role on an issue that will benefit both Mexico and the rest of the globe: climate change.
Specifically, the president-elect can capitalize on Mexico’s huge potential for renewable energy. But while he has made promising proposals for expanding renewables, he will confront several obstacles.
Renewable energy accounts for less than a quarter of Mexico’s installed power capacity, well below the Latin American average of about 50 percent; most electricity is generated from oil, coal and natural gas. Expanding renewable energy would not only cut Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions, but also reduce air pollution and diversify fuel sources, strengthening energy security. Mexico’s wind potential is more than eight times its current level of installed wind capacity. It has among the largest solar resources in the world — 75 times the country’s current total installed capacity.