By Guy Edwards
Last week German Chancellor Angela Merkel jetted in to the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, with over half a dozen ministers to hold a bilateral meeting with embattled President Dilma Rousseff. Germany and Brazil cooperate extensively on green issues and this meeting did not disappoint with the launch of a joint statement on climate change. Here we include the responses of four analysts to three questions about the importance of Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Brazil.
The latest issue of the Inter-American Dialogue's Energy Advisor includes a response from the CDL's co-director Guy Edwards on the following questions:
What is the outlook for reaching a deal at the December meeting? How much have Latin American countries committed to fight climate change, and how much should they be doing relative to more developed and more polluting countries, such as the United States and China? What role should the private sector play in a the climate debate, and would an agreement change the way that companies do business in Latin America and the Caribbean?
"A new global climate deal to be wrapped up this December, which will come into force from 2020, will likely have major implications for Latin America. It could include a long-term goal to reduce global emissions and promote building resilience to climate impacts, and how rich countries will support developing countries. A strong deal is critical for Latin America’s future as uncontrolled emissions will accelerate impacts that could sabotage the economy. The region plays very important roles at the U.N. climate talks and offers potential solutions. Brazil has made impressive reductions in deforestation and associated emissions, while Mexico and others are advancing policies to stem emissions and promote renewable energy. But in the face of competing priorities, these policies are sometimes undermined or ignored. The region accounts for 9.5 percent of global emissions, but its average per capita emissions are higher than most developing countries and some in Europe. An ambitious climate deal would signal the end of business as usual. Emissions from energy and agriculture represent an expanding share of the region’s portfolio so these sectors need cleaning up. Big opportunities exist in the areas of clean energy, sustainable transportation, protecting biodiversity and energy efficiency, which are good for the economy and citizens. Developed countries must support the region, but the latter needs to attract more low-carbon investment. Latin America requires private sector champions to back a sustainable development agenda to help diversify the region’s economies away from fossil fuels and engage on how a climate deal will affect the region."
By Timmons Roberts and Guy Edwards
The United States and Brazil today made a joint announcement on climate change following a meeting between Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Barack Obama at the White House. Beyond the positive step of these two major leaders talking again, what can we make of it?
By Guy Edwards and Timmons Roberts
When Paraguay joined ranks with a group of fellow Latin American countries at the United Nations climate talks this month, the media scarcely noticed. After all, its coverage of the UN’s ongoing negotiations to deal with global warming tend to focus on more “dramatic” developments—spats between major powers and the glacial pace of negotiations.
New Brookings Institution Paper On How A New Global Agreement Can Catalyze Climate Action in Latin America
By the Climate and Development Lab
Photo Credit: Gonzalo Baeza
Today, Brookings Institution publishes a new paper by Guy Edwards, J. Timmons Roberts, Monica Araya, and Cristián Retamal on how the current round of the UN climate talks can catalyze climate action in Latin America. Members of Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab conducted the research for the case studies on Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela: Alison Kirsch, Sophie Purdom, Zihou Jiang, Cassidy Bennett, Camila Bustos, Alexis Duran, Maris Jones, Victoria Hoffmeister, Ximena Carranza-Risco, Marguerite SuozzoGolé, Allison Reilly, and Jeff Baum.
In December over 190 countries will converge on Paris to finalize a new global agreement on climate change that is scheduled to come into force in 2020. A central part of it will be countries’ national pledges, or “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs), to be submitted this year which will serve as countries’ national climate change action plans. For Latin American countries, the INDCs present an unprecedented opportunity. They can be used as a strategic tool to set countries or at least some sectors on a cleaner path toward low-carbon sustainable development, while building resilience to climate impacts. The manner in which governments define their plans will determine the level of political buy-in from civil society and business. The implementation of ambitious contributions is more likely if constituencies consider them beneficial, credible, and legitimate.
By Alison Kirsch
(Click to enlarge)
The energy sector plays an increasingly important role in Latin American greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, national energy policymaking can lock in infrastructure, garner trust in low-carbon development, and substantiate international climate policy rhetoric. This report overviews the intersection of energy and climate policies in five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. Comparing the successes and obstacles of national energy agendas sheds light on how these countries could enhance their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
By Monica Araya and Guy Edwards
This year marks a watershed for Latin America as governments decide what they are willing to contribute to a new climate agreement in Paris this December. This is not just a question of offers to tackle climate change - how governments define their plans will determine the level of political buy-in from citizens, civil society, and businesses. The implementation of ambitious and solid contributions is more likely if constituencies consider them beneficial, credible, and legitimate.
By Guy Edwards
On April 18 the Climate and Development Lab organized a panel entitled “Leader or Spoiler: Where next for Brazil’s Climate Policy?” The panel was part of Brown University’s first annual international symposium on sustainable development in Brazil held at the Watson Institute.
The CDL’s Professor Timmons Roberts chaired the discussion with leading experts: Professor Eduardo Viola (University of Brasilia), Natalie Unterstell (Kennedy School of Government at Harvard), Professor Kathryn Hochstetler (University of Waterloo) and Carlos Rittl (Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Climate Observatory).
By Guy Edwards and Timmons Roberts
The Summit of the Americas in Panama this week could produce public performances worthy of an Academy award nomination. Following recent efforts to re-establish diplomatic ties between the US and Cuba, presidents Obama and Castro may stage a carefully choreographed handshake. This eagerly anticipated moment could usher in a new chapter of US – Latin American relations as leaders south of the Rio Grande have repeatedly called for an end to US aggression against Cuba.
However, Venezuelan President Maduro could upset the party by criticising recent US sanctions against Venezuela, which have been unanimously rejected by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Yet beyond the theatrics, there could be very important diplomatic exchanges behind the scenes, which could prove pivotal for the world’s response to global climate change.
By Marguerite Suozzo-Golé
Tomorrow, the United States is expected to submit its offer for how it will address climate change ahead of United Nations talks in Paris this December.
For the first time since the birth of U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, all U.N. member nations are invited to send in their plan for how they will tackle global warming.
These plans, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs, represent a divergence from historically ‘top-down’ negotiations, where the outcome document is the product of a few major powers. Each submission will include targets for reducing emissions; measures the country will take to adapt to climate impacts; and why the country believes their plan is a fair contribution.
The pieces featured in the blog are authored by CDL members and a diverse group of partners from around the world. The opinions expressed in these articles are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not reflect those of Brown University.
CDL in the news
8/28 Guy Edwards reflects on German leader's visit to Brazil & implications for climate action
7/17: Guy Edwards is quoted in the Inter-American Dialogue’s Energy Advisor on whether Latin America is ready for the Paris climate talks
7/4: Timmons Roberts is featured in a ProJo piece on the politics of the Pope’s encyclical
7/1: Guy Edwards is quoted in Diálogo Chino following Brazilian president’s visit to the White House
7/1: Roberts & Edwards article quoted in a RTCC piece following the US-Brazil Joint Statement on Climate Change
6/25: Guy Edwards is quoted in RTCC article on climate change politics in Venezuela