Sarah Phillips joined the Inter-American Dialogue in 2019 as a program assistant for Energy, Climate Change & Extractive Industries Program. She graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo with a B.A. in Spanish and international relations, as well as a minor in Latin American studies. While at SUNY Geneseo, Sarah volunteered at the Geneseo Migrant Center and West Side Learning Center and spent a semester abroad in Granada, Spain. After graduating, Sarah taught English at the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia in Pasto, Colombia, on a Fulbright teaching assistantship.
In an interview with The Science of Where Magazine, Lisa Viscidi, director of the Energy, Climate Change, and Extractive Industries Program, and Sarah Phillips, program assistant, discussed Latin America’s progress toward the energy transition and its geopolitical implications.
The Amazon rainforest, one of the world’s most important ecosystems, faces environmental impacts from hydroelectric dams, oil and gas drilling sites, and mining projects. A new database and analysis by the Inter-American Dialogue reveals that state-owned enterprises, as well as small and mid-sized international companies from a handful of countries, operate the largest share of such projects in the Amazon region, meaning these companies have a substantial influence over the implementation of environmental and social safeguards.
Over the past two years, the government of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has sought to strip away central aspects of the 2013 energy reform that increased private investment in the power sector and return control of the sector to state utility CFE. These moves will reduce needed investment in the sector and lead to higher electricity costs for Mexican industry and manufacturing, affecting employment, trade, and Mexico’s ability to meet its clean energy targets, according to this new report by the Inter-American Dialogue.
Chile’s initiative to fully phase out coal generation by 2040 will be critical for the Southern Cone country to comply with its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. However, despite the urgency of slashing Chile’s emissions, ensuring that coal workers are not economically abandoned in the process exemplifies one of the main challenges for policymakers surrounding the just transition.
For over a decade Colombians have been debating whether or not to allow oil companies to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to produce oil and gas from shale rock, a technique that has been controversial in many countries. The high court’s decision last week to uphold a moratorium on fracking suggests the increasingly polarized debate is far from over.