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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
3-129_Q4 2017Sanchez
Expert meeting on household environmental statistics, Nov 2016 [Photo courtesy of Dr. Sanchez]

Work on socio-economic scenarios for Mexico within the global iPETS framework is ongoing. During July-September 2017, four sets of scenarios to estimate climate change impacts (up to 2100) on agriculture were analyzed with two shared socioeconomic pathways (SSP3 and SSP5) under two different climate projections (RCP 8.5 and RCP 4.5). SSP3 represents a world of high challenges for mitigation and adaptation, while SSP5 represents high challenges for mitigation due to high resource and fossil fuel use, but with low adaptation challenges due to a more rapid development. While RCP 8.5 roughly aligns with an expected 2.0 average temperature increase, RCP. 4.5 will anticipate an increase of 1.4 degrees. By comparing these two social trajectories (under the same climate scenario), the team anticipates to assess how socioeconomic changes will affect population vulnerability. Through analysis of SSP under two climate scenarios, the team will assess the implications of mitigation, that is, the consequences of avoiding 2.0 degrees’ warming.


During the past three 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. In that sense, during these months the training of the Mexican team continues, comparing the results across scenarios and down-scaling impacts across household groups. That training took place through frequent consultation, research visits, and through sharing of codes and data. In collaboration with NCAR, the research team are working on a paper for presentation at a conference in Brazil. Plans are in place for organizing a workshop on distributive impacts of climate change, to take place in November, where project results  will be presented along with other studies.

 A workshop on Climate Change Distributive Impacts, Tools and Applications convened by El Colegio de Mexico is scheduled to take place November 13-14, 2017 where the team will present their research results. The event will be broadcast online:

 During the next several 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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