A sustainable future for new energy in Latin America «2 of 2»

A sustainable future for new energy in Latin America «2 of 2»


The world stands at a critical crossroads in combating changing environmental pollution. Either we accelerate the transition to new energy at a rapid pace, or else the diminishing chances that we will be able to prevent global temperatures from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels will disappear. No one understands the stakes involved better than the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
These countries constitute one of the regions of the world most vulnerable to climate change. Last year alone, Latin America and the Caribbean suffered a devastating hurricane season, a deadly heat wave, and a severe drought, which led to a severe water crisis in Uruguay and weakened hydroelectric production in countries like Ecuador. Credit rating agency Moody’s estimates that climate change could cost the equivalent of 16 percent of the region’s GDP this century.
But Latin American and Caribbean countries also have enormous potential to lead and even advance the global transition to renewable energy. The International Energy Agency points out in its first Latin American energy outlook that renewable energy, led by hydropower, already accounts for 60 percent of the region’s electricity – twice the global average – and some of the world’s most powerful wind and solar resources suggest opportunities for more. the growth. Moreover, Latin America has huge reserves of critical minerals essential for the transition to clean energy, including more than half of the world’s lithium. It is positioned to become a leader in green hydrogen production and use.
Moving to a safe path will require radical, decisive and immediate action, supported by global cooperation, strong political leadership, effective public-private partnerships, and well-designed regulatory frameworks. It will also require money, as according to the International Energy Agency, the region must double investment in renewable energy by 2030.
This investment will provide energy to about 17 million people who currently live without electricity, prevent 30,000 premature deaths thanks to clean cooking, and create one million jobs in clean energy industries. However, like any socioeconomic transition, the clean energy transition may marginalize some groups, with women, rural communities and indigenous peoples at greatest risk. To avoid this outcome, climate initiatives and the goals they support must respond to principles of equity and inclusion.
The energy transition process depends on infrastructure. The current energy infrastructure in Latin America was built primarily to support the production and consumption of oil and gas. To facilitate the development, storage, distribution and transmission of renewable energies, the region must now build more interconnected networks and expand supporting infrastructure on land and at sea. Cross-border connectivity and scalable storage systems are essential to ensuring that renewable energy systems across Latin America can withstand the impacts of worsening nature change.
Special for “Al-Eqtisadiah”
Project Syndicate, 2023.

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