Announcements from the Summit of the Americas
The US hosted the Summit of the Americas for the first time since the gathering began during the Clinton Administration. Leaders met in Los Angeles, where President Biden and Vice President Harris announced a number of climate change measures aiming to lower emissions and create jobs, and that will affect countries across the Western Hemisphere.
- The US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030): The partnership will facilitate the cooperation between the US and the Caribbean on reducing emissions, creating cleaner energy, and fortifying local infrastructure and economies against the effects of climate change.
- The Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean (RELAC) initiative: Currently made up of 20 countries that have agreed to reach 70% installed renewable energy capacity by 2030.
- 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K CLIMA): An alliance between industry, governments, and 2,500 higher education institutions that will help students learn technical and linguistic skills to contribute to the emerging clean energy economy.
- Mobilizing Climate Finance: A commitment between four banks across the US and Latin America that will set aside $50 billion over the next five years to promote climate action.
- Amazonia Connect: A commitment from the US to give $12 million to countries in the Amazon forest to support conservation.
- The Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC): An agreement between the state of California and Canada for a joint effort to fight climate change, reduce pollution and plastic waste, promote zero-emission vehicles, and conserve important ecosystems.
Fueling these initiatives is the idea that climate action can simultaneously mitigate global impacts and strengthen global economies. In opening remarks, President Biden said, “Within our climate response lies an extraordinary engine of job creation and economic opportunity ready to be fired up.”
CBS: Last day of Summit of the Americas in downtown LA, June 10, 2022.
Euronews: Loss and damage | How climate reparations are pitting the North against the South, June 1, 2022.
Why This Matters
Climate change has brought countless natural disasters to Latin America, many of which have left thousands homeless and jobless. Hurricanes like Eta and Iota in 2021 caused a massive climate refugee crisis, displacing many citizens of Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, and more. As a wealthy country bordering many of these nations and a massive contributor to climate change, the US should help shoulder the burden, especially because nations in the Global South will experience disproportionate damages from global warming.
Additionally, Latin American nations like Chile and Mexico have lithium deposits that could help manufacture EV batteries and bolster the clean energy economy.
CBS: Climate change could displace 200 million in 20 years, disaster relief organization warns, June 1, 2022.
Robin Hood: "This is Loss and Damage - Who Pays" narrated by Mark Strong, September 23, 2021.
The Guardian: Will Green Technology Kill Chile's Deserts?, February 18, 2020.
A Few Bumps In The Road
Some diplomatic strain arose from the summit, but overall it seemed to promote collaboration. The bilateral meeting between US President Biden and Brazilian President Bolsonaro generated controversy. Tensions were heightened, as the right-wing populist (and Trump-supporting climate skeptic) suggested earlier this week that Biden was not fairly elected.
And leaders from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and a few other countries boycotted the summit because Washington excluded Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela from attending. But, Mexican President Obrador did agree to meet with Biden at the White House next month to discuss immigration and promote more US investment in Central America.
“Together is the only way forward on addressing the accelerating climate crisis, which communities across the hemisphere are feeling more and more acutely,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said before the summit. “We see the region coming together on this, too.”
Reuters: Mexican President Boycotts US-led Summit, June 7, 2020.
PBS: Biden speaks on migration declaration during Summit of the Americas, June 10, 2022.
PBS: Diplomatic controversy overshadows Summit of the Americas, June 9, 2022.