Mexican Energy Reform, Climate Change, and Energy Justice in Indigenous Communities

  • Citation: Baker, Shalanda H. "Mexican Energy Reform, Climate Change, and Energy Justice in Indigenous Communities." Natural Resources Journal 56, no. 2 (2016): 369-90.
    • Topics:
    • Global Development
    • Keywords:
    • Mexico
    • Latin America
    • Central America
    • energy
    • development
    • indigenous communities

Mexico’s recent energy reform portends a new era of private engagement in the oil and gas sectors. According to government officials and industry leaders, the opening of energy reserves for private development will spur economic growth and establish the country as a leader in the energy arena. This article examines whether the reforms could also lead to community-led growth in the renewable energy sector, specifically in Oaxaca, Mexico, which has been identified as one of the windiest places in the world and is currently already the site of extensive wind energy development. Building on my prior work exploring the impact of renewable energy development on indigenous communities in Oaxaca, this article presents a framework to explore the aspects of the energy reform that could lead to greater participation in renewable energy development by communities who have historically disproportionately borne the brunt of the country’s energy development in the country. This article utilizes the theory of energy justice, which incorporates principles of environmental justice and climate justice as well as energy democracy, to consider whether opening the Mexican energy market to private participation and increased competition in the electricity sector could render communities more resilient in the face of climate change and better able to meet their energy needs.

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