By G9ija

US envoy John Kerry on Friday called on Mexico to step up efforts to tackle climate change, during a visit aimed at boosting cross-border cooperation in clean energy technology.

Kerry held talks with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and other officials about efforts to promote electric vehicles, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deepen investment in renewable energy.

The meeting in Mexico’s northwestern state of Sonora comes ahead of the COP27 UN climate talks in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik starting on November 6.

“Over the last year we have seen unbelievable evidence of the growing impacts of the climate crisis on the planet” including floods, fires and drought, Kerry told reporters after the talks.

“All of which compel us to make extra efforts to try to produce results in Sharm el-Sheik,” added Kerry.

The visit by US President Joe Biden’s climate envoy comes as Mexico faces a formal trade complaint from the United States and Canada over Lopez Obrador’s energy policies.

Washington and Ottawa see the Mexican president’s push to boost the state’s role in the energy industry as damaging to foreign investors and the development of clean energy.

Mexico hopes that Sonora — believed to be home to most of the country’s lithium deposits — will be a beneficiary of the shift to clean energy and electric vehicles.

Mexican lawmakers approved a plan in April to put exploration and mining of lithium — a vital material in the production of batteries for electric cars, mobile phones and other technology — under state control.

In August, Lopez Obrador announced that lithium exploitation would be opened to private investors because there were insufficient public funds to develop the sector.