Powered by

Home Profile

Mexico Chooses Climate Scientist Claudia Sheinbaum as President: Now What?

Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico's first female president and climate scientist, will address nation's energy demands, environmental issues, and economic realities. Her background in environmental policy & commitment to renewable energy will guide her presidency

By Ground report
New Update
Mexico Chooses Climate Scientist Claudia Sheinbaum as President: Now What?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/MX GM ALFOMBRA MONUMENTAL

Listen to this article
0.75x 1x 1.5x
00:00 / 00:00

Mexico has chosen Claudia Sheinbaum, a left-of-centre climate scientist, as its next president in a historic election. She secured a landslide victory and will face the daunting task of balancing the nation's energy demands, environmental concerns, and economic realities when she assumes office in October.

Who is Claudia Sheinbaum?

Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, 61, is a trailblazer in Mexican politics. She is poised to become the country's first female president and its first leader of Jewish descent. Born to a family of scientists, she is a physics graduate from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) with a master's and a doctorate in energy engineering.

Sheinbaum is an environmental expert who contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and United Nations documents warning about burning fossil fuels. In 2007, she was part of a group awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions to the IPCC.

Sheinbaum's political journey began in 2000 when she joined the administration of then-Mexico City Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador as the Secretary of the Environment. During her tenure, she introduced the city's bus rapid transit system and built an electronic vehicle-registration center, reflecting her commitment to sustainable transportation.

As Mexico City's Mayor from 2018 to 2023, Sheinbaum prioritized environmental initiatives such as electrifying the public bus fleet, installing solar arrays, and expanding bike lanes. However, her support for the controversial Maya Train project, cutting through forests and archaeological sites, drew criticism from environmentalists.

Sheinbaum's environmental work

Sheinbaum will balance Mexico's energy demands with its environmental commitments as president. She pledged to expand renewable energy infrastructure, differing from her predecessor's focus on bolstering the state-owned oil company, Pemex.

Sheinbaum wants to support Pemex and keep it under state control, but her leadership will be tested as she reconciles these goals.

"Claudia, an environmental scientist, believes in decarbonization and boosting renewables, unlike her mentor AMLO," said Shannon O'Neil, a Mexico specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations. "But she's also a statist, wanting Mexico's energy transition led and controlled by cash-strapped, state-owned enterprises."

As Mexico deals with a severe drought, water scarcity and climate change are a top priority for Sheinbaum. During her campaign, she promised to allocate funds to clean energy initiatives and expand electric public transportation.

Sheinbaum's experience in addressing water challenges as Mexico City's mayor will be invaluable. The capital faced a dire water crisis, with experts warning of a potential "Day Zero" as early as June 26.

Despite her political alignment with López Obrador and shared beliefs about addressing inequality, Sheinbaum is seen as less confrontational and more data-driven than her predecessor and mentor. Her scientific education and background as an environmental researcher set her apart, offering a fresh perspective on the nation's environmental stewardship.

As Sheinbaum becomes president, Mexico and the world will watch how she handles energy demands, economic realities, and environmental imperatives. Her scientific expertise and political acumen may be instrumental in charting a sustainable path for Mexico's future.

Follow Ground Report for Environmental News From India. Connect with us on FacebookTwitterKoo AppInstagramWhatsapp and YouTube. Write us on [email protected] and subscribe our free newsletter

Don’t forget to check out our climate glossary, it helps in learning difficult environmental terms in simple language.