Mexican senate clears way for climate bill

MEXICO CITY Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:53pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's Senate on Thursday passed a climate change bill aimed at encouraging a voluntary carbon emissions trading market, clearing the way for President Felipe Calderon to sign it, as expected, into law.

The measure gives the energy ministry authority to establish policies and incentives to promote low-carbon technologies, including a non-binding national emissions trading scheme in which companies can voluntarily take part.

The legislation sets out that participants in the future emissions market can trade CO2 permits with partner countries.

Calderon has been an advocate for global action to curb greenhouse gasses and control climate change.

Mexico is suffering a tough drought that officials say is the type of weather that can be expected to occur as climate change takes hold, and Calderon has ordered his agencies to prepare for a future of more severe weather.

The law passed the Senate last year, but subsequently underwent changes in the lower house, which passed it last week.

The climate change bill was among a number of non-controversial measures passed by Mexico's congress ahead of national elections on July 1.

It will create a centralized agency called the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change that addresses climate policies in Mexico that various ministries will represent.

(Reporting by Patrick Rucker and Miguel Angel Gutierrez; Editing by Paul Simao)

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