Energy Transition and Climate

The Inter-American Dialogue’s Energy Transition and Climate Program aims to accelerate a just energy transition and expand access to clean, secure, and affordable energy in the Western Hemisphere. By convening experts, policymakers, corporate leaders, and civil society to share balanced, innovative, action-oriented analysis, and best practices, the program aims to enhance energy security, mitigation, adaptation, and resilience to the climate crisis in line with the objectives and timeline of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.


Subscribe to our newsletter / Suscríbase a nuestro boletin: 

Events See all

EventsArray ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 132410 [post_author] => 97 [post_date] => 2023-03-02 20:16:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-03-02 20:16:15 [post_content] =>

Amidst global efforts to mitigate climate change, analysts forecast a spike in demand for the building blocks of the clean energy transition, namely, critical minerals—resources that are essential to the economy but vulnerable to supply chain disruption. In fact, under a scenario in which the Paris Agreement’s goals are achieved, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that a demand boom for copper, lithium, nickel, and cobalt could lead to a more than fourfold increase in total mineral demand from 2020 to 2040. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) will supply much of this growing critical mineral demand. Most saliently, the region holds two-thirds of global lithium reserves, a metal whose demand is projected to increase by 42 times (relative to 2020 levels). However, the region also shares significant supplies of other critical minerals, bearing over 40 percent of global copper reserves and sizeable shares of nickel and cobalt. 

Considering the region's long history of natural resource governance challenges, endless reports have highlighted current and future socioenvironmental impacts provoked by this incipient mining boom. However, the boom’s potential economic impacts have received less attention. While heightened demand could increase economic rents, reduce the balance of payments deficit, and potentially fund social programs (as occurred during the last commodity boom that coincided with the "Pink Tide"), high rents could alternatively foster a “green resource curse.” This neology derives from a phenomenon called the resource curse, which describes a paradox in which countries with an abundance of natural resource wealth often experience lower economic growth and higher levels of conflict, rent-seeking, poor investment, corruption, poverty, and democratic backsliding.  

Historically, key factors contributing to this curse include high dependence on commodity exports, lower competitiveness of non-commodity exports, and mismanagement of rents due to a lack of institutional capacity. To date, these factors remain top concerns in LAC: from 2015-2019, 42 percent of all regional economies were export commodity-dependent, including all countries in South America, and many other countries were verging on dependence. Moreover, in 2021, the mining sector alone accounted for 15 percent of Chile’s GDP, and mining exports made up over 62 percent of the country’s total exports. In the same year, mining accounted for 10 percent of GDP and 60 percent of exports in Peru. Additionally, institutional and administrative capacity—especially for redistribution of wealth, efficiency of spending, and successful implementation of policies—remains a concern in LAC. This is particularly relevant as a growing body of research suggests that institutional quality plays a critical role in determining the effects of newfound resource wealth. 

Amidst booming mineral demand, high commodity dependence, and continued governance challenges, this plausible “green resource curse” merits speculation. However, in practice, examining the unique characteristics of the critical mineral economy raises crucial caveats that diminish the likelihood of a modern-day resource curse. First, myriad factors will impact the level of demand for minerals and thus rents received. According to a 2022 Brookings Institution report, critical mineral demand depends on “the pace of the energy transition, technological developments, improvements in recycling, and domestic mineral development in the European Union and United States.” For example, innovations in batteries could likely avert the need for lithium. In addition to this list, policy change plays a pivotal role, especially through subsidies, local content requirements, and incentives. This was illustrated in the passage of the US Inflation Reduction Act, which could increase demand for Chilean lithium.  

Secondly, the resource curse catalysts of the 20th century, fossil fuels, operate under different life cycle models compared to the minerals used in clean energy. To keep producing energy, fossil fuels must be burned and replenished after each use. In comparison, once non-fuel minerals are mined to be used in clean energy technology, they stay in use for 10-30 years (the current shelf life of batteries and renewables), after which they could be recycled. Without the need to drill for oil or mine for coal, according to some estimates, in the long term, the total global mining burden is actually predicted to drop in a renewables-driven world. Thus, the “one-time mining” structure of critical minerals usage poses less of a risk for the resource curse in the long term compared to the unsustainable consumption model required by fossil fuel dependency. 

Lastly, context-specific factors are key to determining whether resource curse symptoms will manifest, according to a 2022 study. The energy transition will differentially impact each country, so country-level risk assessments are a sensible first step towards identifying and mitigating potential negative outcomes. For example, a 2019 study found that under the IEA’s 2 degrees scenario, increased metal demand will cause the highest GDP growth in Chile and Cuba at 10.5 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Other metal producers like Brazil, Peru, and Argentina are predicted to experience more manageable growth between 0-2 percent of GDP. Considering all of these factors, a widespread resource curse caused by critical mineral mining is unlikely to materialize in LAC.  

Regardless, high dependency on mining revenues amidst potential skyrocketing demand certainly remains a cause for concern. Given the high rents forecasted for certain countries, governments should consider implementing transparent and fiscally responsible policy options to avoid rent mismanagement, encourage economic diversification, and promote specialization in value-added, price-stable economic activities.   

Policy options previously deployed to mitigate the resource curse have caused conflict between developed and developing countries as well as mining and energy industries. Economic policies intended to stop the cause of the resource curse through levers like price controls, export caps, and suspension of foreign direct investment have been criticized for reducing overall revenues. Instead, policies working to mitigate the effects of the curse, such as citizen rebates, sovereign wealth funds, and regulations limiting government spending, better enable countries to receive and responsibly allocate their newfound wealth.  

Given the dire need for climate finance in the region, governments could simultaneously boost twin goals by diverting extractives revenues towards climate action. Similarly, to reduce economic dependence, rents could be invested in studies and projects to diversify regional supply chains towards renewable energy technologies. This would require high investments in R&D as well as education to build human capital, which could facilitate a just transition. Importantly, these investments must take into consideration the volatility of commodity prices; historically, unpredictable commodity price swings have led to abrupt cuts in funding for social programs. To avoid this, revenue investments could be backed by stabilization funds, earmarked for short-term projects, or blended with other financing sources. For example, in 2012, Colombia instituted a sovereign wealth fund administered by the central bank called the Regional Savings and Stabilization Fund which is drawn upon to mitigate fluctuations in royalty income. 

Overall, a widespread green resource curse is unlikely to take hold across LAC. However, the impacts of unforeseen mining rents in certain countries can and should be mitigated by implementing responsible fiscal policies and allocating rents towards a diversified, decarbonized economy.  

[post_title] => Demystifying the “Green Resource Curse”: Managing LAC’s Critical Minerals Boom [post_excerpt] => Will Latin America's critical minerals spur a "green resource curse" this century? What kinds of policy tools are available to mitigate the risks? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => demystifying-the-green-resource-curse-managing-lacs-critical-minerals-boom [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-03-13 10:24:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-03-13 10:24:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 131074 [post_author] => 97 [post_date] => 2022-11-04 14:18:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-11-04 14:18:10 [post_content] =>

An interview with Andrés Mogro, regional manager of the Climate Action Programme in Fundación AVINA.

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from November 6-18, 2022. The world’s premier climate negotiations will bring together over 30,000 participants, including heads of state, ministers, mayors, negotiators, journalists, civil society, and private sector representatives. While the official purpose of the event is to review progress made since COP26 in Glasgow and outline updated country-level climate commitments, certain themes with relevance for the global south such as climate finance and loss and damage have emerged as defining topics of the conference. 

Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) face similar adaptation financing challenges, which appears to be increasingly propelling the region to collaborate around COP. Historically, LAC negotiated at climate talks via different groups. This year, calls for climate finance and adaptation assistance, as well as an incoming wave of leftist presidents in leading economies in South America, have brought LAC together at COP27, with some even calling for a joint bloc for negotiation purposes. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a bloc including all Latin American and Caribbean countries, issued a joint declaration at COP27 calling for increased financial support from developed countries, sovereign bonds, debt swaps, and most importantly, regional climate coordination.

To learn more about LAC's increasing regionalization, subnational action, climate finance, and other salient issues at COP27, the Energy, Climate Change, & Extractive Industries Program at the Inter-American Dialogue spoke to Andrés Mogro, Regional Manager of the Climate Action Programme in Fundación AVINA.


Question (Q): Traditionally, LAC does not act as a region at COPs. Is there an opportunity for regional interests to align at this year's COP? If not, how can national governments exchange knowledge regarding best practices for adaptation and resilience?

Answer (A): It is true that LAC does not act as a region at COPs, but that is also true of every other region in the world aside from Africa. It remains unclear whether incoming left-leaning governments will bring new perspectives regarding regionalism. Regardless, Latin American countries face very similar climate impacts, so regional projects are an opportunity to collaboratively tackle these common challenges.

Despite Latin America’s fragmented positions at COPs, countries do collaborate with one another to share climate knowledge through networks like Euroclima+ and NDC Partnership. On a more regionalized level, Resilient Andes (Andes Resilientes), a project Fundación AVINA implements with Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation focusing on familial agriculture and adaptation in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru, brings together together representatives of diverse sectors—regardless of country relationships to COPs—to discuss how to improve resilience.  

Q: Over 80 percent of climate finance is aimed at mitigation and reaches only national levels. How can Latin American leaders make increasing adaptation finance a priority at COP27 discussions, and how can international finance become more accessible for smaller projects in remote communities?

A: Latin America has made it clear that it prioritizes adaptation over mitigation and that its needs are local in nature, but climate financing continues to be primarily channeled toward national mitigation. Nevertheless, the region as a whole does not advocate for increasing the ratio of adaptation to mitigation funding at a political level as much as it should.  

Financing of smaller, more local projects has been stymied byseveral barriers. At an international level, funding allocation depends on an organization’s project requirements. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) for instance, rarely finances a project that is smaller than $10 million, and for a local community, that amount is beyond their capacity to administer, implement, or monitor, as local needs tend to be smaller in scale. Thus, increasing financial access for local communities requires funding sources to adjust their administrative requirements to fit local capacities and their access to information. Overall, international funds like the GFC are inaccessible for local stakeholders and focus on large programs that can only be brought to the table by organizations the size of United Nations agencies.  

 A second barrier at the international level is that many projects require costly preliminary studies to provide proof of “climate rationality,” which becomes a disincentive for local communities. Climate rationality refers to scientific studies and data proving that a proposed action constitutes a measurable response to a problem caused by climate change. In practice, this is unnecessary because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) already publishes detailed information on the impacts of climate change per region and the types of actions needed to combat them, but most funds demand a case-by-case argument, and it is their role to contest that argument. Given resource disparities for local communities, this often becomes a prohibitive requirement deterring proposals for projects addressing local needs.

Finally, access to finance for local communities also depends on the support of national governments, which tend to prioritize projects with a better opportunity of being approved by international funds or that will attract investment.  

Q: How has the international community's failure to deliver the promised $100 billion in climate finance affected Latin America? Will the developed world follow through on this promise? Does the $100 billion plan address the region’s needs?

A: Governments in the region need to bring to light not just the failure to deliver the $100 billion promised but also how the funding allocation fails to meet the region’s needs. The commitment says that these $100 billion will be mobilized for developing countries, taking their needs and priorities into account. However, most financing flows towards mitigation, and most of it is offered in the form of loans, not grants. This has forced developing countries to acquire debt to reduce emissions, even if their main need has been grants to finance adaptation. This primarily owes to the fact that mitigation projects can generate returns on investment (such as through electric cars or solar panels). In contrast, adaptation funding will almost never generate returns. Thus, much of the climate finance we are seeing is motivated by generation of revenue instead of consideration of developing countries’ most urgent needs.    

Not only have developed countries failed to fulfill the promise, but now they are shifting the responsibility of their commitments to the private sector. This can be seen, for example, in forcing developing countries to become “more attractive” to investment; otherwise, they are to “blame” for the fact that they have not received climate financing (in loans, because grants are rare). Developed countries have refused to agree on replenishment values for the Green Climate Fund or the Adaptation Fund, have refused to define what climate finance is, have insisted on reporting non-concessional loans (granted under less generous terms compared to concessional loans and clearly motivated by revenue), and have turned a blind eye to loss and damage finance needs by designating it as a humanitarian aid issue, not a climate finance issue.  

Q: How can different Latin American countries integrate Indigenous and local and community-based voices to identify climate priorities, design commitments, and delineate future updates of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs)? How can these organizations’ capacities be strengthened while building governments’ institutional capacity to integrate their knowledge and feedback?

A: Feedback from local organizations is invaluable for governments, since local stakeholders know their unmet needs and the actions that will directly affect their territories or constituencies. Integration of Indigenous and local knowledge depends upon two factors. The first is the level of openness of governments to include local and community-based voices in climate planning. Oftentimes increased openness results from pressure from the media and organized social movements. The second factor is thus the level of coordination among these local stakeholders to exert that pressure.  

To that end, local actors should work to create a shared agenda and solidify links among themselves. Creating governance mechanisms for a local network and increasing spaces for dialogue can enable these organizations to speak with a single voice. This could include, for example, organizing assemblies to determine an agenda, priorities, or demands, and identifying spokespersons to articulate them, including at a technical level. 

After solidifying a shared agenda and building communal organization, these groups can advocate for their needs with the governmental body assigned to work with local or Indigenous voices. By creating fora to bring all these stakeholders to the table, they can build power to demand the government branch in charge of climate planning includes them in all stages of climate action.   

On a final note, government functions and capacities in Latin America are often supported by international agencies dealing with issues related to gender, Indigenous peoples or human rights. National governments and local stakeholders can seek support from these organizations to create spaces for conversation and bring technical expertise.  

Q: Digitalization and digital inclusion have gained relevance as enablers of resilience and adaptation. How can Latin America leverage this international forum to use information and communications technology to combat climate change?

A: Digitalization has aided in the fight against climate change by increasing access to essential information and facilitating interaction between local and international stakeholders. However, different categories of new technologies have different applications.

Most countries in Latin America have used tools related to digital inclusion and knowledge sharing to consult and involve local actors in climate policy development, implementation, and monitoring. The efficacy and impact of such technologies continue to improve. Given that COP discussions tend to be far from local realities, any effort to either bring those realities to those deliberations or bring results back to a local level can be much improved through today’s communication technologies. 

In contrast, intellectual property rights restrict access to various tools related to climate mitigation, which is an additional obstacle for widespread technology adoption in developing countries. Given that many of these patents come from countries with higher historical emissions, monopolizing essential climate mitigation technologies and withholding them from the global south is an issue of climate justice. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 36.7 percent of patents related to technologies aimed at clean energy generation are held in European Union countries, 20.2 percent in the United States and 19.8 percent in Japan. This disincentivizes research & development in the global south and prevents scaling up much-needed climate technologies.  

Q: Going into this year's COP, justice is at the forefront of debates and negotiations. Within that context, what lessons can we learn from under-represented communities? How can we amplify their voices before, during, and after COPs?

A: The knowledge these groups share has much to teach us; so, a first lesson to be learned is that any conversation with local stakeholders and communities must begin from a point of mutual respect and acknowledgment of diverse practices, beliefs, governance schemes, and traditional and ancestral knowledge. It is important to be aware that modern economic and political practices have brought the world to the current state of climate crisis, whereas local communities have played a crucial role in preservation of biodiversity and sustainable practices.  

A second important lesson learned from these groups is that climate efforts can never have sustainability or scalability over time if they do not strengthen and empower the role of local stakeholders. Governments change; projects open and close. The processes and capacities needed to promote long-term collaborative action have the potential to remain at the local level.  

Finally, it is important to realize that COP, regardless of its good intentions, is not a fully participatory process in which anyone who is interested in attending can do so. Being at COP requires considerable work and resources such as an organization to accredit one’s participation; in most cases, visa arrangements (especially for the global south); and funding for flights, accommodation, transport, and food. On top of high socioeconomic barriers, from a global south perspective, COP takes place in a foreign language and remains mostly led by heterosexual, middle aged, white men. Great efforts must be made on the side of all non-governmental and governmental organizations in the global south to guarantee that local voices can participate. This could be improved through allowing increased virtual participation, through the sharing of information pre and post COPs, or through processes to discuss developments at the international level and their national and local implications.  

Q: Usually, we think of COPs as fora for national governments. How can cities and local jurisdictions become protagonists at these events, and what can they commit to in terms of assessing their level of dependence on ecosystem services or of delivering on urban sustainability and resilience?

A: It is true that the governmental side of COPs, which is to say, negotiations, are fora limited for national governments, who are attending in their capacities as ratifying parties to the UNFCCC or the Paris Agreement. However, a COP is also the largest meeting in all the UN system, and it is an opportunity for all stakeholders working around climate change to meet, discuss and agree on anything they see fit, taking advantage of the forum.   

These summits have provided the opportunity to create all kinds of initiatives, like the Covenant of Mayors, Resilient Cities Network, and other spaces where cities may create links, exchange best practices, and communicate their climate commitments, which may lead to potential cooperation. Fundación AVINAS's Resilience Hub, is another example of a regional initiative aimed at generating regional dialogues with local actors around priorities and lessons learned to further resilience. 

In many cases, Latin American cities are independent from national governments in the ways in which they manage solid and liquid waste, provide clean water, determine which technologies to use in the provision of energy and public transport, and which criteria to use in public purchases, conservation standards, or resource preservation within their jurisdiction. All of these provide avenues to improve the use and preservation of ecosystem resources and to promote citizen climate empowerment. A COP may provide public spaces to announce these actions and plans, either through participation in events, panels, press conferences, high-level meetings, pavilions, exhibits, or networking. Cities’ representatives attending a COP should make use of all these opportunities in-situ and strategically assess their options in advance.  

[post_title] => Latin America’s Role at COP27: Q&A with Andrés Mogro [post_excerpt] => An interview with Andrés Morgro, regional manager of the Climate Action Programme in Fundación AVINA [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => latin-americas-role-at-cop27-qa-with-andres-mogro [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-11-30 14:32:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-11-30 14:32:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 126686 [post_author] => 97 [post_date] => 2022-07-27 21:12:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-07-27 21:12:10 [post_content] => Many of the energy and climate commitments made at the Ninth Summit of the Americas last month focused on the promotion of a clean and just energy transition in the Western Hemisphere. In one of the more noteworthy pledges, five countries announced their intention to take part in the Renewables in Latin America and the Caribbean (RELAC) initiative: three as members (Barbados, Guyana, and Jamaica) and two as collaborators (Argentina and Brazil). These commitments, combined with the professed willingness of the United States to provide financial support and technical assistance, could renew regional efforts to decarbonize economies through the transformation of electricity systems. Beyond the rhetoric of these pledges, though, specific questions are raised: What does the RELAC initiative consist of? What challenges will it face in implementation? In achieving its goals, what new opportunities could emerge?   Colombia launched RELAC during the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit with the aim of accelerating the carbon neutrality of electricity systems in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), setting an ambitious overarching target for over 70 percent of power generation to come from renewables by 2030. With a regional baseline of around 59 percent in 2019, such a target requires doubling the growth rate of both renewable installed capacity and the share of renewables in total electricity generation over the period 2020-2030 compared to the previous decade.  In addition to Colombia, two other regional energy transition leaders, Chile and Costa Rica, originally collaborated to promote this initiative. Since then, a total of 15 countries in the region have become members and established their own renewable energy targets. Technical coordination and assistance are provided by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Latin American Energy Organization in collaboration with a group of high-level energy agencies such as the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, among others. With the support of these actors, member countries benefit from four project instruments: 1) tailoring of regulatory and normative frameworks; 2) coordination and optimization of energy agencies; 3) financial connections between project developers and funders; and 4) provision of a platform for monitoring climate action.  The enabling context driving the initiative is the fact that LAC’s energy mix is considered “the world’s cleanest” given the high share of hydropower in electricity generation (around 45 percent in 2019). Nevertheless, the growth of hydropower, particularly large dams, has been stalled for at least five years due to recurring governance issues (such as citizen opposition, corruption, or lack of prior consultation), acute socio-ecological damage, and water stress exacerbated by climate change. Within this context, RELAC focuses on mitigating climate change while improving the resilience, competitiveness, and sustainability of the electricity sector through diversification and expansion of renewable energy sources, especially non-conventional ones (i.e., excluding large hydropower projects).  However, a variety of challenges impede the initiative’s implementation. For one, the initiative is complicated by disparities in the region’s national energy profiles. Significant differences in natural resource endowments and economic models have contributed to the uneven development of energy sources across the region. While some countries have an overwhelming renewable installed capacity (such as Paraguay, with 100 percent renewable energy largely sourced from hydroelectric dams such as Itaipú) or an extraordinary renewable resource potential (such as Chile, whose Atacama Desert has one of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world), other countries are extremely dependent on fossil fuels for power generation (such as Bolivia and Trinidad and Tobago, which is not yet a member of RELAC). Such differences have led to divergent levels of readiness for the transition to renewables which, reinforced by fossil fuel path dependence (i.e., the chronic reliance of some countries, Bolivia and Trinidad & Tobago among them, on fossil fuels not only for producing electricity, but as a key economic sector), affect the level of climate ambition among LAC countries (including their interest in participating in the initiative).  A second challenge is regional fragmentation and asymmetry of national goals. While RELAC seeks to foster a collective effort that recognizes distinct national contexts and resource endowments, differing domestic policies have led to highly varied energy transition pathways. While some countries like Uruguay and Costa Rica have bet heavily on renewables, the development strategies of other countries are based on boosting hydrocarbons. In the context of RELAC, this means that, although 15 countries have signed on, the initiative currently covers less than half of regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—the region’s three largest emitters (Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina) are not full members yet. Whereas Brazil and Argentina have announced their intention to join the initiative in an ambiguous “collaborator” role, Mexico remains completely on the sidelines. Chronic political instability, energy policy volatility, and geopolitical uncertainty (such as that produced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine) are additional factors that hinder the achievement of renewables targets regionally.  A third and final challenge to RELAC concerns the creation of healthy investment environments across all LAC countries, including those historically left behind. In 2021, three countries (Brazil, Chile, and Colombia) accounted for 88.78 percent of investments in renewables, with Brazil taking the lion’s share (68.75 percent of the regional total). Deconcentrating these investment flows to foster equitable development of renewables across the region requires adapting regulatory and normative frameworks to attract investors, in accordance with RELAC’s first “project instrument.” That being said, difficulties persist even among the most prepared countries. While the least advanced countries in the region have a low institutional capacity to develop regulations that improve investor confidence (as in Central America’s “Northern Triangle” or in some Caribbean islands), most of the better prepared countries still struggle with issues like environmental licensing and prior consultation with local communities. These challenges frequently delay the development of utility-scale projects, as is the case for socio-environmental conflicts associated with wind farms in La Guajira, Colombia, or in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico.  In addressing these challenges, however, RELAC presents an opportunity to transform electricity systems while improving energy equity regionwide. First, it offers a chance to foster a more inclusive and resilient development of renewable energies. On the one hand, it can right the wrongs of large hydro, notably regarding socio-environmental conflict resolution and human rights abuses in the renewable energy sector. This is significant given that, between 2010 and 2020, 61 percent of recorded human rights abuses linked to this sector worldwide were found in LAC. On the other hand, RELAC can trigger distributive justice actions in order to achieve, among other things, the ‘last mile’ in universal access to electricity (e.g., through solar microgrids or kits of photovoltaic panels and batteries for non-interconnected areas) and tackle energy poverty phenomena, including the use of rudimentary fuels for cooking. This approach has the potential to incentivize an equitable expansion of renewable capacity that minimizes conflicts between local communities and energy companies.   Second, RELAC could foster integration of energy systems, bridging intra-regional gaps and strengthening energy security. One way to advance these objectives is by improving access to financing in the short term, e.g., through agreements like a recent commitment by regional development banks to mobilize up to $50 billion in climate financing over the next five years. It is also key to harness RELAC to support technical assistance and the regional sharing of experiences in order to achieve the policy and regulatory adjustments required by each member country. Additionally, enhancing energy security requires collective, long-term efforts to leverage differences in energy resource endowments to build a robust, sustainable, and secure regional energy system that mitigates LAC’s risks related to shocks to global energy markets and to the impacts of climate change. For example, actions like interconnecting national electricity grids and upgrading and modernizing transmission infrastructure are critical. Throughout these efforts, an active role for the United States will be a decisive factor given its financial and technical resources.  Finally, this initiative provides an outstanding opportunity to align regional energy and climate policies. LAC only contributes to 7 percent of global GHG emissions—55 percent of which come from the energy sector (23 percent less than the world average). Nevertheless, setting the region on a deep decarbonization pathway is essential to keep alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. The engagement of Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina will be crucial to such efforts, making the intention of the latter two to collaborate with the RELAC initiative a potentially considerable, albeit uncertain, step forward. RELAC can act as a framework for correlating renewable targets with Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement and increasing climate ambition through international cooperation. Ultimately, that is the golden opportunity this initiative brings to the table: to make consistent and coordinated steps towards making LAC a global champion of climate action and sustainable development.   [post_title] => RELAC Initiative: An Opportunity to Raise Climate Ambition While Leaving No One Behind  [post_excerpt] => Despite many challenges in implementation, RELAC presents an opportunity to transform electricity systems while improving energy equity region-wide. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => relac-initiative-an-opportunity-to-raise-climate-ambition-while-leaving-no-one-behind [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-01-08 14:34:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-01-08 14:34:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
See all

Analysis See all

Picture of panelists

A Roadmap to Unlock New Climate Finance in LAC

To explore the innovative tools key to materializing these financial flows, Inter-American Dialogue hosted the online event “Unlocking Climate Finance in Latin America and the Caribbean” on May 8, 2023. 

Picture of panelists Video

Social Governance of Critical Minerals in LAC

To explore the social and human rights implications of critical minerals mining, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted the online event “Critical Minerals in LAC: the ‘S’ in ESG” on April 11, 2023.

Picture of panelists

Experts Discuss Risks for Energy Transition Industries

On March 29, 2023, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted a private discussion with Victoria Gama and Arun Pillai-Essex of Verisk Maplecroft, as well as with Alejandro Martínez de Hoz of White & Case, to explore the ever-changing risks and opportunities facing industries of the energy transition.

Experts See all

Partners and Sponsors