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OECD chief urges Mexico to seek green growth, cut fuel subsidies
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07:54, August 25, 2009

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Mexico should seek a green growth and cut fuel subsidies to boost both the economy and clean energy, the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Jose Angel Gurria, said at a Monday conference organized by Mexico's Environment Ministry.

"Green growth is an opportunity for exports, jobs and wealth," Gurria told the conference. "Developing green technology could be a business opportunity for Mexico."

He said that global spending on alternative fuels could top 500billion U.S. dollars by 2020, and cited the success story of Denmark, which has become the world's biggest exporter of wind turbines though its geographical conditions are not so favorable for the development of wind energy.

"There exists a bad caricature that the choice is between economic growth and the environment," Gurria said. However, there are many cases where that has not been the case, he stressed.

The U.S. state of "California's Global Warming Solutions Act could create hundreds of thousands of jobs by making California a center of innovation," he noted.

He also called on Mexico to cut subsidies that hurt the environment, including policies like setting the price of fuels below the international price, even though the nation imports around 40 percent of the fuel it consumes.

"Doing so will save the government and taxpayers money and help raise economic efficiency," he said. Last year, when U.S. citizens crossed into northern Mexico to buy cheaper fuel, much of which was originally imported from the United States, the Mexican government was losing money on every sale, he noted.

"In Mexico, over the next 20 years, low oil production will pressure the government's ability to spend on social programs. Investing in clean energy will reduce the government's dependence on oil and raise Mexico's competitiveness," he said.

The Mexican government gets around 40 percent of its annual income direction from state-run energy giant Pemex, which is producing less oil each year as Cantarell, the supergiant field that has been its mainstay since the 1970s, enters a final decline. A carbon tax could help compensate for this, Gurria suggested.

Source: Xinhua



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