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The coal well


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    Some of the trapped Sabinas miners earned two thousand pesos a week. The Mexican government's increase in the minimum wage in recent years was of little use to them. Decreeing an official mandatory base income line is not the same as increasing real wages and improving working conditions. Anyone who works without minimum security conditions or in the informal sector with wages below the formal minimum wage knows how fallacious it is for politicians to boast that they have recovered the power of wages.

    True, the mining profession is not the only one that is dangerous and poorly paid. It is not uncommon for technicians working in wind power plants to suffer injuries. Falls from the turbines are frequent, but few usually result in death, as has happened so many times in the wells of the Coahuila coal region. When have you ever heard, dear reader, of a solar or wind power plant collapsing on dozens of its workers, leaving them trapped there?

    In terms of salary, when starting to work in a wind or solar plant from the lowest levels, a worker obtains an income similar to that of coal miners, but it is possible for him to train, progress and obtain considerably higher salaries, with less risk to his life.

    In addition, the Mexican government has the legal obligation to progressively phase out coal wells and coal-fired power plants, which are excessively polluting.

    There are three large coal-fired power plants in operation in the country: two in Nava, Coahuila, working since 1982 and 1993 each. The third in the municipality of La Union, Guerrero, has been operating since 1993. All three have completed their cycle and should be closed. This is what we decided as a country within the "Global Coal Phase-out Partnership", during the 2015 Paris Agreement negotiations.

    In the same direction, Mexico committed to the international community to the unconditional goal of reducing 22% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This implies a 30% reduction in the electricity sector. Does Mexico have its word? Not to lie, not to betray? In 2018, the General Law on Climate Change was reformed to recognize that the 2015 Paris Agreement is part of the national climate policy. Do we have the rule of law?

    The Mexican State has not started the energy transition, where new jobs are required to make the closure of coal-fired power plants socially possible. This omission violates an international and legal obligation, but, more importantly, it pushes the miners to continue risking their lives for little. The tragedy of the El Pinabete shaft in Sabinas, Coahuila, reflects the addiction of politicians to coal. Not only the trapped miners must be rescued (as I write this there is still hope), but everyone else. They are slaves to a dangerous, unjust, polluting and unnecessary activity.

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