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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s announcement on June 1 that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement was met with widespread dismay and fears that the decision would put the entire global agreement in peril. For Latin American countries, which overwhelmingly support global efforts to tackle climate change, the move will make it more difficult to meet climate objectives, and it will put a strain on relations with the United States.

Latin American countries are among the most committed to tackling climate change. About three-quarters of citizens in the region consider climate change a very serious problem, among the highest percentage in the world.

Latin American and Caribbean countries are highly vulnerable. A significant rise in global temperatures could lead to reduced arable land, the loss of low-lying islands and coastal regions, and more extreme weather events in many of these countries. Latin America holds one-third of the world’s freshwater and almost 30 percent of potential new arable land, making it an important center for global food production. Many urban centers — 60 of the 77 largest cities in the region — are situated along coasts, and Caribbean islands are susceptible to rising sea levels that would damage infrastructure and contaminate freshwater wetlands. Central America, the Caribbean and eastern Mexico are threatened with a growing frequency of high-intensity tropical storms.

Read the full article in The New York Times.

More analysis from the Inter-American Dialogue:

 

Will the U.S. Split From the Paris Deal Affect the Region?

The Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor takes a look.

 

Clean Energy Innovation in Latin America

This Dialogue report and video examine clean energy technology development in Brazil, Mexico and Chile, which are among the Latin American countries with the greatest potential to expand clean energy research and commercialization. 

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Trump and Latin American Energy: The Costs of Cutting Ties

The United States’ reliance on Middle Eastern oil and the carbon emissions produced by the surging demand for fossil fuels in Asia tend to dominate discussions about the role of energy in U.S. foreign policy. But in recent years, the US-Latin America energy relationship has perhaps become more important. Read more in Foreign Affairs

 

How Can Latin America Move to Low-Carbon Energy?

The Paris accord, signed by almost 200 countries last year, came into force on November 4, 2016. Many questions persist about how each country can move toward the zero carbon-energy target that experts say is necessary to avoid destructive climate change. Some parts of the world are better positioned than others to take this test. Latin America is a good example, argue Lisa Viscidi and Rebecca O’Connor in a New York Times op-ed.

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