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Claudia Sheinbaum elected Mexico’s first female president

Claudia Sheinbaum elected Mexico’s first female president

Female President

Mexico elected Claudia Sheinbaum, a climate scientist, as its first female president. Sheinbaum has the most formal climate-science background of any political premier in history. She studied emissions from buildings and the environmental impacts of Mexico City’s transport sector.

Sheinbaum also contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports in 2007 and 2014, which won a Nobel Peace Prize. As mayor of Mexico City, Sheinbaum advocated for solar energy and public transport reform. Jose Luis Samaniego, the World Resources Institute’s executive director for Mexico and Colombia, said Sheinbaum introduced the capital’s first Metrobus, expanded it, added its first electrified line, and launched initiatives to improve the quality of life, especially for underserved communities.

These efforts reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improved air quality. During her presidential campaign, Sheinbaum promised to boost renewable energy investment and pursue decarbonization.

Climate-focused leadership

She also announced a National Water Plan to address inequality, which includes reforming loopholes that allow ‘water millionaires’ to have virtually unlimited water rights while many households lack access to safe drinking water. However, Mexico is also the world’s 11th largest oil producer, and its record on climate action has been slipping. Sheinbaum’s predecessor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, heavily invested in the state-led fossil fuel sector as a means to energy independence.

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There are concerns Sheinbaum might continue this legacy. Balancing state-owned energy production with transitioning to clean energy won’t be an easy task. However, if Sheinbaum can make progress, she could set a notable example for other nations, according to Samaniego.

Her international climate experience might also make her a valuable ally for the US, particularly under a second Biden administration. Sheila Jasanoff, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School who contributed to the same IPCC reports as Sheinbaum, said, “It is refreshing to see the world acquire a progressive female leader at a time when so many countries are regressing.”

What Sheinbaum’s election will mean for climate action around the world is yet to unfold. Her knowledge is unmatched among global leaders, but how it will translate into government action remains to be seen.

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