Great Expectations: Challenges to Implementing Climate Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean

Abstract

The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region is a distinct geographic, economic and cultural area with a place in the climate change landscape. LAC has suffered the impacts of climate change at a level disproportionate to the amount of emissions it produces. Awareness of this experience, in addition to factors such as the region’s large young population, increasing middle class, vast natural resources and considerable economic growth potential provide reasons to hope LAC can implement significant climate change policies to meet its Paris commitments. Springing from its cultural and historical affinities, the region has borne a flurry of polycentric initiatives promoting exchange, integration and coordinated approaches to common problems. Climate policy implementation to meet Paris commitments is still incipient, with some of its countries serving as models, some as laggards and the rest positioned somewhere in between. For this reason, partnerships with regions which have advanced more in this area can prove useful. The EU-CELAC summits and the Euroclima program are two examples. Due to its high levels of inequality and social unrest, the key challenge to implementing climate policies in LAC will be the strengthening of a political atmosphere where human rights, the rule of law and democratic values prevail.

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