“A number of Latin American and Caribbean countries such as Peru, Guyana, Belize and Barbados have already ratified the Paris Agreement; while Mexico, Brazil and Costa Rica intend to follow suit this year. The region is excellently placed to implement the agreement. Latin American and Caribbean nations played a key role in ensuring that the Paris round of negotiations concluded successfully. This diplomatic triumph has helped bolster a sense of ownership of the agreement, which can aid in its implementation. Given the region’s awesome potential for renewable energy and high levels of concern for global warming among its citizens, politicians can harness the Paris Agreement’s goals to promote a cleaner and more resilient type of development.
However, a ‘business as usual’ mentality pervades a number of countries where the entrenched interests of fossil fuel and mining lobbies continue to undermine more ambitious climate policies. Insufficient green finance from developed countries also hinders progress. The Paris Agreement sends a clear message that phasing out fossil fuels by 2050 is required and that all investments must be consistent with reaching net zero emissions this century. The formidable growth in renewables globally and in Latin America shows investors that renewable energy is now the leading option for new power-generation capacity. Strong investment and support for renewables can create jobs and help diversify the economy. Moreover, the risk of fossil fuel assets becoming stranded in the future demonstrates why planned fossil fuel investments and projects must be reassessed.
The impressive experience of the new United Nations Climate Secretariat chief, Patricia Espinosa, as Mexico’s former foreign minister and president of the 2010 Cancún climate negotiations, distinguishes her as a strong player to manage this devilishly difficult process. Espinosa’s biggest task is to encourage the speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement and its early entry into force.”