Positioning the Paris Agreement at the heart of the EU-Latin America relationship. This briefing was prepared by Guy Edwards, Brown University.

 In December 2018, the UN climate change negotiations in Katowice, Poland, successfully concluded with most of the work to finalize the Paris Agreement rulebook completed and with growing calls for increasing climate action over the next two years. During the negotiations, several Latin American and Caribbean countries stood with the EU and other countries calling for greater ambition on climate change by 2020 guided by the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report on avoiding overshooting 1.5 degree Celsius of warming. Drawing on their extensive cooperation on climate change, the EU and Latin America can spearhead the building of a critical mass of countries willing to put forward national climate plans aligned with the Paris goal of 1.5 degree Celsius in 2020.

EU-Latin American cooperation matters now more than ever

EU-Latin American cooperation on climate change matters now more than ever to achieve this goal. The IPCC says that without a global transformation, the world could reach 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming in a little over a decade. Both regions are very vulnerable to climate change impacts. In Latin America’s case especially, rising sea levels and more extreme and frequent climatic events are already affecting the region. Allowing global warming to surpass 1.5 degrees could potentially prove catastrophic for the region, including the loss of coral reefs, the disappearance of Andean glaciers and the dieback of the Amazon rainforests.

The latest UN Environment Emissions Gap Report says that the current round of countries’ national climate plans set us on a trajectory of roughly 3 degrees of warming by the end of the century. With the planned departure of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, this adds additional pressure to ramp up emission reduction efforts by other nations and the provision of finance by Europe and other developed countries to developing countries in particular.

Together, Europe and Latin America can build on their past experience to take their cooperation on climate change to the next level. Both regions are playing instrumental roles in advancing the implementation of the Paris Agreement. These efforts demonstrate the value of the bi-regional partnership, which represents one of the strongest examples of global cooperation on climate change. Advancing the Paris Agreement shows that these partnerships can secure transformative results when resources and political capital are invested in diplomacy, coalition building and cooperation.  

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This briefing was prepared by Guy Edwards, co-director of the Climate and Development Lab, Brown University. It is based on a consultancy conducted for the EUROCLIMA+ programme to produce a study on EU-Latin American relations and climate change. The information and views set out in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.