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Mexico and the Heat Crisis

Decarbonization, Innovation, and Technologies for a Sustainable Future

Experiencing Another Spring of Record Heat Waves in Mexico

We are experiencing another spring of record heat waves in Mexico, serving as yet another reminder of the climate crisis that endangers our planet and all its inhabitants. According to the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the country has already experienced 3 out of the 5 predicted heat waves for this year, with temperatures exceeding 45°C in some regions. The remaining waves are expected to intensify droughts.

Last year, the UN Secretary-General declared that "the era of global boiling has arrived," as continuous wildfires and extreme heat affecting various parts of the world exemplify the growing presence of climate change. This underscores the need for leadership and action to mitigate risks and create opportunities across all sectors.

The undeniable risks of extreme heat waves not only affect families and communities but also businesses. In Mexico, record temperatures are increasing heat-related illnesses and reducing labor capacity. According to the International Labour Organization, labor productivity decreases when temperatures exceed 24 to 26°C, and at 33 to 34°C, workers lose 50% of their capacity.

The same report indicates that by 2030, approximately 2.2% of total work hours worldwide will be lost due to high temperatures. In the agricultural and construction sectors, the projected loss will increase to 3.8%, equivalent to 136 million jobs, resulting in an estimated economic loss of $2.4 trillion, with a significant impact on developing countries. Specifically in Mexico, thermal stress will cause a 0.90% reduction in work hours by 2030, costing approximately 544,400 jobs in the agriculture and construction sectors.

Climate change is making heat waves larger and slower, affecting more people for longer periods over wider areas. Since 1979, global heat waves have slowed by 20%, resulting in prolonged exposure to heat. Additionally, their incidence has increased by 67%, according to a study by Science Advances.

This study found that temperatures during heat waves are warmer than 40 years ago, and the area under a heat dome is larger. Experts from UNAM indicate that in Mexico City, besides heat waves, temperatures rise further due to the greenhouse effect caused by its location in a basin. This is exacerbated by CO2 emissions from various sources, leading to ozone concentrations of 7 to 8 parts per million, collectively increasing temperature, radiation, and chemical reactions.

All of the above underscores the urgent need for climate action. Besides addressing these threats, developing solutions and methods to anticipate increasingly unpredictable weather is crucial for both governments and businesses. Despite the significant challenges, it is important to recognize the opportunities to quickly reduce our carbon footprint. According to Enlight, Mexico has significant environmental potential due to its geographical location, being the second-largest country in Latin America in photovoltaic capacity, increasing the possibility of reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and water stress.

Indeed, a study by McKinsey indicates that over 85% of emission reductions can be achieved through decarbonization technologies that are at least in the initial phase, while 60% could be attained through technologies already in early adoption or fully mature stages.

Companies taking action now to reduce their carbon footprint across their supply chains already see benefits. Decarbonization solutions like Oxtron help clients, especially those unable to afford an internal sustainability department, to implement technology for capturing, monitoring, and managing emissions. This can reduce their carbon footprint by 80 to 90% across their supply chains, known in climate policy as "scope 3 emissions," by offering decarbonization actions that make the most sense for business operations.

We are already witnessing changes in our planet, with extreme temperature peaks, increased frequency of heat waves, higher atmospheric pollution in cities, desertification of fertile areas, and changes in agriculture and livestock that lead to food shortages, affecting the general population.

Global decarbonization efforts have enabled the capture and storage of 40 megatons of CO2 annually by 2020. However, this figure must increase at least 100-fold by 2050 to meet environmental balance scenarios, according to the World Economic Forum.

Emerging, more effective, and cheaper capture technologies are changing perspectives and driving global goals. Although significant challenges remain, carbon capture and storage are increasingly positioned to contribute significantly and necessarily to achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century.

Achieving the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 requires a massive effort from all of society, not only depending on how the world changes its behaviors but also on how we create conditions for continuous innovation that enable the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants. To learn how your company can help reduce the impact of climate change and the rise of heat waves, visit:


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