Renewable energies and climate crisis: the keys to John Kerry’s meeting with López Obrador

John Kerry, left, with Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a visit to Palenque last October.
John Kerry, left, with Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a visit to Palenque last October.MEXICO’S PRESIDENCY (Reuters)

The bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico has several open fronts, from the economy to migration, and one of the most transversal features that define this work agenda is the environmental commitment. The Joe Biden Administration seeks to deepen cooperation with the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the face of the climate crisis and on renewable energies. To this end, the White House’s special envoy for the climate, John Kerry, will meet this Wednesday with the Mexican president to address issues such as clean sources, favorable conditions for investment and the fight against methane gas pollution.

This official trip is the second that the veteran Democratic leader has made in less than four months. During the first, in October, he applauded the environmental “leadership” of the Fourth Transformation for ideas such as the reforestation of large areas of the south of the country, with which López Obrador tries to alleviate migratory flows. On this occasion, the visit takes place with a political background related to the electricity reform, to which are added the agreements sealed at the end of the year at the summit of North American leaders. The State Department reported that Kerry will defend before the president and other high-ranking government officials such as Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard “the opportunities to expand the generation of renewable energy.”

Biden’s envoy, in fact, has landed this Tuesday in the border state of Baja California to monitor progress in electricity. In the same peninsula, although in Baja California Sur, the US ambassador, Ken Salazar, was yesterday and today with the same goal: “Promote the United States-Mexico alliance to produce and use clean energy technologies.” And Ebrard has presented in the morning a binational working group to accelerate the electrification of transport on both sides of the border.

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All these are signs that speak of the increasingly intense collaboration between the two countries in this field. But at the same time, and without being the central theme of the meeting, this Wednesday’s interview takes place while in Washington the concerns of investors and lobbyists are spreading about a possible change in energy regulation granted to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) majority control of the electricity market. Ambassador Salazar has chosen to play the card of dialogue and diplomacy, he has met, among others, with the head of Morena’s senators, Ricardo Monreal, and last week he even publicly praised the reform. But short of the next step, Kerry wants to advance the environmental priorities of the Biden Administration.

López Obrador has been very optimistic and assures that there is a lot of room for dialogue. “Mr. Kerry is very respectful. And yes, we are going to look for ways to work in a coordinated manner. We care a lot about using water, using the sun, the wind”, he stated during his morning press conference when asked about it. The president has adamantly denied that there is concern about the reform and that they try to pressure from the White House. “No no no. The officials of the United States government are very respectful, ”he said when reeling off part of the hierarchy of the Democratic Government, from Biden to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

The Mexican president has also made it clear that “there are facilities for investment” and has recalled that the objective of the change of model is to lower the electricity bill. He has also rejected that the CFE produces obsolete energy. “No, it produces clean energy and has a diversity of sources for power generation that is not available in other countries, it has many possibilities: from fuel oil, gas, through water, wind, sun,” he maintained. before trusting that the meeting will go very well. Three weeks ago, the visit of the Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, ended with a statement in which doubts and objections to Mexico’s plans were read. But politics is also made up of sensations and chemistry, and López Obrador has insisted on his esteem for Kerry. “He has a first-rate political career, he is highly esteemed in the United States and he is a decent person, with whom we get along well.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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