Cablegate: Mexican Views On Climate Change Negotiations

DE RUEHME #3090/01 3002212
P 272212Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In an October 21 tour d'horizon of the
climate change negotiations from the Mexican perspective,
Mexican Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, Special Negotiator
for Climate Change at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE)
called the US-Mexico climate change relationship 'frank,
candid, and close' but expressed some frustration with the
latest U.S. funding proposal and urged a specific funding
commitment from the United States in order to move the process
forward. Alfonso de Alba characterized the European proposal
in Bangkok for a unified Kyoto-like document to be signed by
all parties as a "big mistake," and noted that Mexico's
proposal for a video conference of heads of state/government
foresaw a need to settle some issues, post-Barcelona, at the
highest level. Alfonso de Alba also discussed Mexico's
hosting of the 2010 COP-16 and the country's resource
constraints. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Econoffs called on Mexican Ambassador Luis Alfonso
de Alba, Mexican special negotiator for climate change at the
Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE), on October 21. Also
present in the meeting was Socorro Flores Liera, Director
General of the Mexican Office of Global Issues in SRE.
Ambassador Alba characterized the US-Mexico climate change
relationship as "frank, candid, and close in substantive
terms." He noted, however, that the proposal presented by
the United States in Bangkok, with obligatory greenhouse gas
(GHG) reductions for both developed and developing countries,
would undermine Mexico's Green Fund proposal and also make it
difficult to get developing countries on board without a
financing package. The public perception now is that "you're
pressuring the developing countries rather than working on a
package of developed country commitments that will move the
process ahead." He said that he personally feels that the
developing countries should have greenhouse gas emissions
reduction targets as well, but that the current lack of
funding on the table has made things contentious.

3. (SBU) Alfonso de Alba noted that he saw the financing issue
as breaking out into three specific areas: what a country
will do on its own; what can be achieved through market
mechanisms, irrespective of who is financing it; and the
international funding, which should be for both adaptation and
mitigation, and of which the Mexican Green Fund proposal is an
example. He said that the Mexican official from the Mexican
National Institute of Ecology had gone too far during the
London MEF meeting October 18-19 in proposing that developing
countries should have GHG reduction commitment plans -- this
had disappointed Brazil, India and South Africa. Similarly,
he noted that language and word choice had also inadvertently
functioned as a bar for some countries, which see imposition
of low-carbon growth as threatening, but which might respond
differently to another term of art. Alfonso de Alba stressed
that the United States has to make decisions and accept a
commitment within the international package of assistance for
the developing countries. China needs to make a bigger effort
as well, but has already moved considerably.

European Proposal a "Big Mistake"

4. (SBU) Alfonso de Alba noted that a particularly difficult
sticking point with the United States involves how to deal
with Kyoto - do we have Kyoto and something else that involves
the United States and the developing countries? Or, as the
Europeans asked for in Bangkok, a single Kyoto-like document
that all countries would ratify? Alfonso de Alba
characterized the latter as a "big mistake" on the part of the
Europeans, as it is much too late in the game for a completely
new concept and the proposal had the effect of throwing the
process off track and the potential to make some countries shy
away from any proposal at all. Instead, Alfonso de Alba said
that he favored getting the substance right first and then
going for format -- an instrument that can convey the already-
agreed substance appropriately.

5. (SBU) Alfonso de Alba was careful to note that Mexican
climate change negotiator from the environment ministry
(SEMARNAT) Fernando Tudela had been misquoted last weekend at
the MEF meeting in London, and that only this misquote (and
not more positive statements) had reached U.S. newspapers.
(Note: Tudela was quoted as calling the United States a
"stumbling block" in the negotiations because it was not able
to put any figures on the table until it had Congressional
approval. Alfonso de Alba was firm in saying that this was an
inaccurate rendition of Tudela's statement.) He said that it
is "important to us to play a bridge role," where we can
'place pressure on the developing countries' to do their share

MEXICO 00003090 002 OF 002

to combat climate change. He also said that Mexico wants to
develop a stronger bilateral relationship with the United
States on climate change, as well as strengthen trilateral
cooperation, as the Leaders declared in Guadalajara. (Note:
Econoff heard the same plea on the bilateral relationship from
Tudela a few weeks ago.)

6. (SBU) On the subject of the Mexican request for a Heads of
State/Heads of Government videoconference, Alfonso de Alba
noted that at the last minute some decisions can only be made
at that level. He said that Mexico had in mind for the
videoconference a small group of ten or so heads of
state/government, and not before mid-November, after
Barcelona, when they would know where the UN process stands.
He said that President Calderon would want to talk primarily
about the financing piece of the puzzle, but that there are 2-
3 other key climate change issues that might be appropriate
for this venue.

COP-16 Planning

7. (SBU) When asked about Mexico's plans to host COP-16,
Alfonso de Alba said that Mexico will work with its available
resources to host the meeting, but that the economic crisis
has impacted the Mexican budget and he has to improvise with
already available personnel and resources. While SRE will
take the lead on the meeting, the environmental ministry
(SEMARNAT) will also contribute personnel and resources.
Further, Mexico will want to consult about timing, as Mexico?s
bicentennial of independence (September 15) and centennial of
its Revolution (November 20) will occur during the timeframe
set aside for COP-16 (early November). Mexico will ask to
delay the COP until after November 20. He would welcome
discussions in Barcelona about logistics and preparations, and
would also request support from the U.S. (not clear what type)
for COP-16.

8. (SBU) In closing, Alfonso de Alba said that he did not
really expect a single and comprehensive document from
Copenhagen. Rather he hoped for a political commitment that
would engender positive momentum and which could serve as a
basis for further refinement as countries were able to commit
more definitively.


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