Countries and companies across the globe are finally getting serious about climate change. For Latin America, this quickening green transition could attract hundreds of billions in investment, help spur an economic recovery and let nations leapfrog technologically. What’s needed is a policy U-turn, particularly in Brazil and Mexico, its two biggest economies. If their leaders don’t get out of their own way, the region will be left behind.
Latin American nations could capitalize on this fast-paced transition. The region starts with one of the cleanest energy matrices around, almost half of its electricity coming from green sources. It has huge solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal potential, from the Atacama Desert of Chile to the windswept sertao of northeast Brazil and the gales off Colombia’s northern shores, from the rain-drenched forests of Costa Rica to the volcanic ranges running through Mexico and Central America. It is also home to shale gas reserves that could bridge the transition from oil and coal to renewables. The economic promise reverberates beyond energy: Latin America’s low emissions and future clean energy potential should entice global manufacturers and services providers looking to meet their climate pledges.
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