Nationally Determined Contributions Across the Americas: A Comparative Hemispheric Analysis
As the final countdown towards COP26 begins, Argentina and other climate leaders in the Americas held a regional summit in September to rally for more ambition and unified action, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Almost 6 years after the signing of the historic Paris Agreement, the Institute of the Americas deep dived into the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of 16 nations across the Western Hemisphere, through country-specific and a regional scorecard, to assess not only the progress made to date, but more importantly, the increase (or lack thereof) in ambition of the updates submitted in the past months, and the advancements made in de-coupling pledges from international funding. Only five countries in LAC made their NDCs 100% unconditional, indicating that the burden of their pledges will rely too heavily on the developed world and the private sector. The alignment of COVID-19 recovery packages with countries’ climate pledges is also explored, as this represents an opportunity to build back greener, yet this opportunity has largely been ignored aside from a few countries in the region, such as Canada, Brazil and Colombia.
Our white paper outlines the need to leverage nature and ecosystems, adapt successful models to attract investment into renewables, and make use of innovative finance mechanisms to tackle the finance gap. Energy, agriculture, and land-use represent 88% of emissions in LAC, and any effort to decarbonize will have to concentrate on these areas. But, as we highlight in this paper, there are notable opportunities to further climate mitigation in the hemisphere, many of which can be considered so-called low-hanging fruit, specifically efforts targeting renewable energy systems, sustainable fuels and supply chains; sustainable agricultural practices; and nature-based solutions. The scorecard is then a great tool to help focus where to leverage finite resources and the most critical areas of near-term attention needed from policymakers and government officials.
On Tuesday, October 12th the Institute will publish the white paper, along with 16-country scorecards and interactive maps with relevant statistics. To discuss the paper’s main findings with other experts in the topic, the Institute will host a webinar on that same Oct. 12 at 11AM PT, in collaboration with UC-TV. So, save the date and join us to learn more!
U.S.-Mexico Climate Change Working Group
The UC San Diego Center on US-Mexico Studies, Brookings Institution, Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) and the Institute of the Americas joined forces this past Spring to launch a U.S.-Mexico Climate Change Working Group. The goal of the working group is to identify specific climate related areas of shared interest and cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico in anticipation of the upcoming UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. This informal binational working group brings together Mexican and American experts to discuss five of the most pressing issues underlying the climate crisis and how the two nations might work together to respond to that crisis. Each topic is covered through a live, virtual session, shared with multiple experts, and a white paper, on the following topics:
- Short-Lived Climate Pollutants
- Energy Efficiency
- Environmental Justice, Adaptation and Nature-Based Solutions
- Climate and Finance
- Renewable Power Development
As a product, the working group will draft a report consisting of a white paper for each topic, as well as a final report post-COP26, with actionable recommendations and references to specific resources geared towards U.S. and Mexican officials. The session-based papers can be found here: https://usmex.ucsd.edu/research/climate-change.html#Briefings.