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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 3 (2014 Deadline)

Poverty and climate change in Mexico: the implications of mitigation policy, climate impacts, and development pathways for household welfare

PI:  Landy Sanchez (, El Colegio de Mexico
U.S. Partner: Brian O'Neill, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Project Dates: September 2014 to May 2018
2-129 PAA Presentatoin 2016
Landy Sanchez (L) and Ana Escoto (R) present their poster at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America (photo courtesy of Dr. Sanchez).
Climate change will impact the Mexican population’s wellbeing over the next decades. There are few worldwide studies that consider the impact of mitigation policy on poverty, and no estimation of corresponding scenarios for Mexico, since integrated analysis of climate impacts and mitigation policy is very novel. In order to design sound development policies, it is imperative to understand the linkages between poverty risks and climate change, as well as quantifying how mitigation targets would diminish or increase such risks in the short and long run. This research study will examine the combined implications of climate impact and mitigation policy for poor households, through their effects on agriculture and energy, addressing limitations of current research. The research team will aim to: (1) enhance the representation of Mexico’s development trends for climate change scenarios, with an updated and detailed survey analysis of demographics, income and consumption of Mexican households over time for iPETS; (2) develop climate and socioeconomic scenarios for Mexico, in a global context; (3) examine the joint consequences of climate impacts and mitigation policy on households: variations in the number of poor households, as food prices respond to impacts on crop productivity and land availability; energy prices impact on poverty headcounts under climate policy; and whether demographic and income transformations might offset food and energy prices effects, under different adaptation and mitigation policies that might alleviate negative consequences on poverty; and (4) foster capacity building for climate and socioeconomic scenario research among researchers and policy makers in Mexico.

The research team in collaboration with the U.S. partner will train, strengthen, and better inform researchers, graduate students, and policy makers on the use of climate and socioeconomic scenarios, fostering their capacity to evaluate the welfare implications of climate policy. In order to achieve this, the project will include different venues for presenting the fundamentals of scenario design using integrated assessment models (IAMs). The project will pay special attention to climate-change implications for households, arising from socioeconomic pathways and demographic heterogeneity. Since the impacts are likely to be uneven, identifying differential effects across household groups would serve as an important input for development of better policies in Mexico, given its large demographic and social inequality. The research project will contribute to USAID’s goal of decreasing vulnerability to poverty. Although Mexico has estimates about mitigation costs for the country, there is no study that evaluates how global climate policy will impact its population, and to what extent future social and economic transformations could balance such effects. This project, with its integrated approach, should help inform Mexican policy makers on mitigation and adaptation policies, and how they can be designed without harming poor household groups.

Summary of Recent Activities
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Expert meeting on household environmental statistics, Nov 2016 [Photo courtesy of Dr. Sanchez]

During the past  months, the PEER team and NSF partner adjusted the final version of the models, and quantitatively evaluated the results for Mexico. Estimations show large, negative impacts for Mexico regarding food consumption, GDP, and income, given a large decrease in agriculture productivity. Although mitigation decreases agricultural impacts, the overall welfare (consumption, income, and energy) is profoundly impacted. In addition to national estimations, the team is developing estimates by household types, using a down-scaling method developed by their U.S. partner. The estimates based on the place of residence (rural/urban) and size of household were completed. The results suggest more substantial impacts for rural households and small households, under all four scenarios. Mitigation scenarios increase little food consumption. Extensive efforts were dedicated to dis-aggregate impacts by household types and understand how different scenarios affect population groups. 

During October –December 2017, the team focused on electricity consumption data analysis and climate change scenarios. A paper was published on electricity consumption and its implications for sustainability. The results show  a growing increase in the use of appliances and consumption of electricity over time across all income levels in Mexico, with low- and middle-income households showing the highest increase in energy consumption practices. These findings have relevant implications for the design of energy policies.

The research team also completed a full set of estimations of four scenarios for Mexico within the global IPETs framework with two shared-socioeconomic pathways under two different climate projections. The team first assessed national impacts on key variables such as total consumption, food and energy consumption, GDP, and income. Then, the team applied   household down-scaling methodology to assess the effects by household type, namely, rural/urban and large/small households.  Both sets of estimations, according to the PI, contribute to Mexican research and inform national policies since  there are no other known climate change impact assessments for Mexico performed using a coupled integrated assessment models. Distinguishing the impacts by household characteristics could help better identify the most vulnerable households.


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 November 13-14, 2017 workshop "Climate Change Distributive Impacts: Tools and Applications" [Photo courtesy of Dr. Sanchez] 

During November 13-14, 2017, a workshop entitled "Climate Change Distributive Impacts, Tools and Applications" was convened by El Colegio de Mexico for students, academia and policy makers, during which the PEER team presented their interim research results.  

During the upcoming  months the team plans to prepare a policy brief presenting climate change scenarios and project results, review drafts for publications, and publish the climate change scenarios' methodology and PEER project results.

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