As Mexico burns, we plant trees outside

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s request for Joe Biden to expand the Mexican tree-planting program in Central America, at a global summit on climate change, is doomed to failure.

A senior US official rejected the idea in advance: “This is not a conversation about immigration for us. It’s a conversation about climate change.”

In fact, President Biden has invited leaders of 40 countries to participate in a virtual summit on climate change to highlight the urgency and economic benefits for the environment.

Diplomatic disdain would have been avoided if someone at State Department Lopez Obrador made it clear that the Sembrando Vida program to stem immigration in Central America was not the appropriate forum or topic of the agenda.

Exposing the president of Mexico to a diplomatic mistake could have been avoided, but what can be expected when the so-called foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, does not dare to contradict him, in order not to hinder his ultimate support as Morena’s presidential candidate.

Mexico’s position of non-interference is contrasted when it requests work visas from the Biden government and sets settlement deadlines, without bearing in mind that immigration policy is the sovereign prerogative of the United States and is decided by Congress exclusively in negotiations between Democrats. Republicans, without interference from foreign governments.

While Mexico is concerned about planting trees in the south of the country, in the north we are emptying wastewater into the United States.

Sewage in Tijuana has gone untreated for years, as in the decaying Ponta Bandera plant, and dumped into the Pacific Ocean, because there’s no money.

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The Biden administration may want to know what the Mexican government will do to solve the marine pollution problem affecting San Diego residents, before talking about reforestation of Central America.

The United States has budgeted 300 million dollars to reduce wastewater flows on the American side, while in Tijuana we did not allocate a single peso.

The international responsibility of Mexico must be in line with the global weight of the fourteenth economy, therefore, fulfilling its national obligations before seeking help from other countries will generate greater respect for us.

Regarding the Paris Agreement, it is difficult for Mexico to comply with international commitments on climate change, due to the energy policy of the Mexican government, which favors fossil fuels, including coal.

Mexico has pledged that 35 percent of the energy generated by 2024, and 43 percent by 2030, will be clean. It seems we are not on the right track.

The temperature in Mexico rose 1.4 degrees in 2020, compared to the 0.98 degrees reported by the rest of the planet, according to the National Water Commission (Conagua).

For its part, the National Forestry Committee (CONFOR) reported that between January and March 2021, 2,429 fires destroyed nearly 47,000 hectares, in addition to what was accumulated, which nearly tripled the effects of last year, compared to the same period, which recorded a loss. 17 thousand hectares.

And so, as Mexico burns, we’re asking the United States to plant trees in Central America.

Augustine Gutierrez Kahné

[email protected]

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