Latin America aligns with U.S. climate goals during Leaders’ Summit
29 abril 2021


Climate Change. On April 22 and 23, the Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change took place virtually. It had been convened by the President of the United States, Joe Biden, who officially extended invitations to 40 world leaders at the end of March. The aim of the summit was to coordinate with global actors in the international community on actions to address the climate crisis, including emissions reductions, financing, innovation and job creation, and resilience and adaptation. From this meeting, countries are expected to chart their way forward and submit further proposals for the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in November in Glasgow.

The meeting was opened by Joe Biden and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. Biden described the climate fight as a “moral imperative, an economic imperative,” and highlighted the “opportunities” that the issue has uncovered to “create jobs” in the green economy. In terms of commitments, the United States pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030, with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. He also announced that he plans to double U.S. climate-related aid to developing countries by 2024. Harris said that “no region” of the world is “immune” to the effects of climate change and mentioned in particular hurricanes Eta and Iota, which devastated Central America last year.

As for Latin America, the Summit was attended by the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Mexican leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, proposed that the Sembrando Vida program be extended to Central America to create 1.2 million jobs, with financing from the United States. Iván Duque, of Colombia, also said that his government is promoting the “principles of circular economy to be integrated in different sectors”, while Alberto Fernández, of Argentina, promised the rapid passage of a federal environmental education law. For his part, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil promised to “eliminate illegal deforestation by 2030″.

Next steps

At the multilateral level, Kristalina Georgieva, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), urged G20 countries to adopt a floor price for carbon to help reach an agreement on its value, something she characterized as essential to combat climate change. The IMF chief said that climate change represents enormous risks to economic development but with opportunities for “transformative investments”. In this way, the Leaders’ Summit on Climate Change seeks to set out new and more ambitious commitments on the matter, as well as to coordinate actions for the United Nations event to be held in November in Glasgow.

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