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Yucatán Congress passes a new law to fight climate change

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Deforestation has become so widespread that Yucatán has lost between 60% and 70% of its biodiversity over the last century, according to a study by the environmental association Pronatura. Photo: Courtesy

Yucatán’s congress passed a new climate-change law Thursday to reduce auto emissions and safeguard the environment.

The state government now has 90 days to create a new environmental rule book because in 180 days the new law will come into effect.

The lawmakers’ environmental committee voted after three hours of debate. As expected, the vote was split down party lines, with representatives for the PAN and PRI voting in favor, and those of Morena voting against. 

“We in Morena are not against laws to protect the environment, but we are against passing laws before they are truly ready,” said Rep. Alejandra Novelo Segura.

A recent study commissioned by the federal government found that Yucatán was the state third-most vulnerable to climate change in part due to its flat terrain and low elevation. 

The first few versions of the new law were drafted with the help of a British-backed program called UK PACT. 

Earlier: Good news for Yucatán’s sea turtles

UK PACT is a program funded by the UK government and supports countries that strive to overcome barriers to clean growth and have good potential to reduce emissions and accelerate efforts to mitigate climate change.

The new law is divided into six main sections and 83 articles that are intended to create a regulatory framework that will make sure Yucatán is doing its part in the fight against climate change. 

Several environmental groups have praised Yucatán’s government for the passage of this new law. However, there is an overarching concern that this legal reform is only for show and will only take effect on paper.

Environmental laws, rulings, and regulations are often skirted in Yucatán when confronted with very real economic or political pressures. A recent example includes the continued construction of the Mayan Train in Yucatán, despite the ruling of a state judge that work had to be halted on environmental grounds

Deforestation, poor water quality, habitat loss, and overdevelopment are among Yucatán’s largest environmental challenges, according to a recent report.  

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