On April 29, prior to his visit to Latin America and the Caribbean, President Obama was interviewed by Americas Quarterly to discuss the purpose of his visit. The topic of energy was on the President’s agenda for his sixth trip to the region.
“Our hemisphere produces one quarter of the world’s oil, almost one-third of its natural gas and almost 30 percent of global electricity, resulting in a well-endowed region with abundant renewable energy sources. Brazil, Canada, Colombia and The United States, are all harnessing new technologies to develop these resources, and the possibilities for cooperation are enormous”, said President Obama. Given the outstanding opportunities for energy cooperation that Latin America and the Caribbean offers, country leaders from the region decided to come together under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) to collectively accomplish energy and climate goals for Latin America and the Caribbean, at the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done so far on ECPA, which has encouraged voluntary partnerships between governments, Inter-American organizations, private industry, and civil society,” said Obama. He added that, “working together, we’re pursuing initiatives on renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner and more efficient use of fossil fuels, and mitigating the effects of climate change. These are the kind of transnational challenges we can only meet together.”
President Obama also noted how the region agreed on the urgent need of connecting citizens along the hemisphere to reliable, clean and affordable electricity that will contribute to the realization of greater economic competitiveness and mutual prosperity. In a joint effort to address the expansion on regional electrical interconnection all chiefs of state and government of the Americas collectively responded by engaging in, “Connecting the Americas 2022”, an initiative led by the Governments of Colombia and the United States. Connecting the Americas 2022, a regional commitment announced at the Summit of the Americas held in 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia, seeks to provide, all citizens of the hemisphere with access to reliable, clean, and affordable electricity within a decade.