Climate Scientists Begin Global Government Takeover

ClimateElections Claudia Sheinbaum
Climate Scientists Begin Global Government Takeover

What if we just let the climate scientists run things?

That experiment is now under way, as Claudia Sheinbaum won Mexico’s presidential election in a relative landslide. She will be the first climate scientist to lead a country, as well as Mexico’s first woman and first Jewish president.

How many politicians can claim co-authorship on papers like “Social implications of siting wind energy in a disadvantaged region – The case of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico,” or “Potential of biodiesel from waste cooking oil in Mexico“? Sheinbaum, who will succeed her mentor Andrés Manuel López Obrador when she takes office in October, has a PhD in energy engineering, previously served as secretary of the environment and mayor of Mexico City, and was a co-author on various Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, including when that panel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

She inherits a government doing far too little to address its contributions to climate change. Climate Action Tracker, which monitors country-level promises and policies on emissions, gives Mexico an overall rating of “critically insufficient,” and the latest update said that its policies “continue to go backwards.” That’s in spite of widespread national concern over the issue: in 2023, 92 percent of survey respondents in Mexico said they are worried or very worried about climate change.

The backsliding is thanks in no small part to López Obrador, who has reversed reforms that loosened the national energy companies’ grip on electricity and other markets. Only a few months ago he celebrated those policy maneuvers, and Mexico is upping its oil refining toward 1.7 million barrels per day by the end of this year. Sheinbaum has said she plans to be more open to private investment in clean energy.

Other countries should follow suit: The world collectively has given little indication that our current cadre of political leaders has it in them to actually stand up to fossil fuel interests and start to send emissions hurtling toward net zero, so let’s give the people who have been predicting all this for decades a try.

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