The Path toward the Paris Goals

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Paris Agreement, adopted two years ago this month, laid the foundation for the world to tackle the “urgent threat” of climate change. Recently, representatives of several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean participated in a workshop in Argentina to assess how they’re doing so far and what steps they can take to bridge the gaps between their current emission projections and the goals they have set for themselves under the Paris Agreement.

The Pathway to Paris Workshop, held December 4 in Buenos Aires, focused on a key element of the Paris Agreement—the “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) that each country has developed to meet the overall goals of the climate accord. The idea of the workshop was to start identifying gaps countries will need to overcome if they are to reach their NDC targets.

Sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the workshop brought together representatives from energy ministries in nine countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and General Electric also participated, providing perspectives on energy and environmental policy and the role of the private sector. Based on the information the countries provided in their presentations, the MIT team will develop technical guidelines and recommendations to help them reach their goals.

“The Latin American and Caribbean countries are determined to implement changes needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet their Paris commitments,” said Juan Cruz Monticelli, who manages the OAS Sustainable Energy Program and the Technical Coordination Unit of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA). “This workshop gave the OAS an opportunity to support these efforts and provide practical tools to help the countries as they move forward.”

David L. Goldwyn of the Atlantic Council, who facilitated the workshop, said in an interview (see related story) that he was impressed by the “laser focus” that countries in the region are bringing to the development of sound energy policy. “I’ve really been heartened by the unequivocal commitment of these economies to clean energy and to meeting their Paris targets,” he said.