As signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement gear up for the upcoming COP24 meetings in Katowice, Poland in December 2018, Latin America has emerged as a global leader in energy modernization and climate change management. In a new report, Latin America: On target for COP 24?, David Goldwyn, chairman of the Atlantic Council Energy Advisory Group and senior fellow at the Adrianne Arsht Latin America Center, and Goldwyn Global Strategies Associate Andrea Clabough examine the progress Latin America has made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the key challenges that remain. The authors focus on three sub-regions within Latin America, the Southern Cone, Central America, and the Caribbean, and assess the varying levels of progress made by each region toward the goals outlined in countries’ respective commitments to reduce emissions. Larger Latin American economies, including Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, have been particularly successful in incentivizing renewable energy generation and accelerating the shift from diesel to natural gas, chiefly by using powerful policy tools such as net metering, modernized power purchase agreements, reduction in energy consumption subsidies, and carbon pricing.
Nonetheless, the authors caution that progress has been uneven, and serious challenges remain for many countries in Latin America. These challenges include the need for investment in renewable energy development, underdevelopment of import infrastructure for liquified natural gas which would enable gas backup for intermittent renewables, and poor power sector regulation and management, all of which are acute in the Caribbean.