75 years ago, the UN was born. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the UN looks back at several important achievements, but much work on persisting challenges still lies ahead. Increased UN engagement in three areas can make the region more resilient to future challenges.
If ratified, the Mercosur-EU trade deal may reinforce the parties’ commitment to climate action. Yet, its potential relevance is weakened by a language that often stops short of concrete commitments, as well as political resistance.
At a meeting of the Arctic Council, secretary of state Mike Pompeo refused to identify global warming as a threat, instead hailing an oil rush as sea ice melts. The US refused to join other Arctic countries in describing climate change as a key threat to the region, as a two-day meeting of foreign ministers drew to a close on Tuesday in Ravaniemi, Finland.
Changes are occurring that could make climate action a driver of the domestic agenda for economic and social progress and for international cooperation. With the help of market forces and technological advances, the tide is moving toward climate action. Paul Joffe argues that a key to success is a strategy that draws public support and makes climate policy a force in a larger industrial renaissance.
In a move that underscored Donald Trump’s isolation on trade and climate change, the two major economies inserted a reference to the Paris Agreement into Ceta.
Fourteen Latin American and Caribbean countries made history at the UN General Assembly on September 27 by signing the Escazú Agreement, a regional accord on public participation and access to information and justice in environmental affairs. It is the first region-wide agreement of its kind and has been touted a big step forward in recognising the rights of environmental defenders. Signatories now need to ratify the Agreement internally before it can enter into force.
San Francisco’s Global Climate Action Summit ended on 14 September with non-state actors sending a call to action to governments ahead of the crucial COP24 in December, while highlighting their pivotal role in reducing emissions and reaching climate targets.
Trump fired Rex Tillerson, a former Exxon CEO who supported staying in the Paris climate accord. Pompeo is a Koch brothers ally and climate policy critic.
Climate change is no longer a niche issue, but is now part of broader political and economic agendas. In the U.S., for example, those supporting climate action face a broad alliance of opposition extending beyond climate change across many issues, as well as dysfunctions in the U.S. policy making process. For these reasons, Paul Joffe argues that climate diplomacy requires a strategy that goes beyond climate change to address the full range of these drivers.
Top officials from Canada, Mexico and the US are now renegotiating the 23-year old North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On the campaign trail, candidate Trump consistently called NAFTA “the worst trade deal ever,” and, in one of his first official acts as president, he signed an executive order to renegotiate the agreement. The first round has just ended, so we are about to get an important clue about the direction of travel of climate diplomacy and policy in Canada, Mexico and the US.