[Mexico exports$ billions in solar photovoltaic products and hopes to install 23 million square meters of solar panels by 2020]
By Stephen Leahy
TORONTO, Oct 3 (Tierramérica) – Achim Steiner, the eloquent executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), believes that Mexico could take a leadership role in the new “green” economy.
“UNEP wants to document new and creative efforts towards creating a prosperous, green economy,” said Steiner, referring to his recent meeting with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón.
Stephen Leahy interviewed Steiner for TIERRAMÉRICA (TA)
TA: Mexico, like all Latin American countries, has traditionally looked to its natural resource base — oil, gas, minerals, agriculture — to drive economic growth. Do you see this changing?
ACHIM STEINER: I think Mexico is at the crossroads between the traditional resource-driven economy and the coming new green economy. Future prosperity, in my view, is in green technologies. Mexico is already moving in this direction. It exported solar photovoltaic products worth 2.3 billion dollars last year alone.
The National Solar Water Heater Programme (known as Procalsol) aims to have 2,500,000 square metres of installed systems in Mexico by the end of 2011. This could mean 100,000 new jobs. By 2020 this could grow to 23.5 million square metres of installed systems keeping 27 million tons of climate-warming carbon dioxide gas out of the atmosphere. That is very significant.
TIERRAMÉRICA: What is happening in other Latin American countries in this regard?
AS: Brazil and Costa Rica are among the leaders making the transition. We need an entirely different economy in the future to prevent dangerous climate change. It’s crucial for countries to help each other so we can move forward at a far greater pace.
TIERRAMÉRICA: The U.S. economic crisis is affecting global markets and the economies of other countries. What is the appropriate response?
AS: Whenever there is an economic crisis the long-term perspective is lost. However, the green economy, the shift to a low-carbon economy, is the wisest investment Mexico or any country could make.
Investment in energy efficiency, for example, creates jobs and reduces energy costs and carbon emissions. It’s a win-win-win strategy. During an economic downturn the best investment is in green technology. New investments in these technologies surpassed 148 billion dollars in 2007, a 60 percent rise from 2006. The era of cheap oil is over.
For full article please see here