Meeting on COP26 with MPs from Latin America highlights urgency for action
On 8 June 2021, BGIPU hosted a virtual COP26 Latin America Meeting. It gathered Members of Parliament from eleven Latin American parliaments to share details of how they are legislating and scrutinising governments to enhance climate commitments in preparation for November’s COP26 Summit. BGIPU Treasurer and COP26 IPU Rapporteur, Alex Sobel MP chaired the meeting which was attended by parliamentarians from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay, and the UK.
The UK’s COP26 Ambassador for Latin America and the Caribbean, HE Fiona Clouder provided an informative presentation about her role and explained how the COP President Designate Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP’s goals translate into her work in the region. She noted that because Latin America is already feeling the impacts of climate change so acutely, it is important that its voice is heard in the COP conversation. Ambassador Clouder praised the achievements of countries in the region but also noted that only half of Latin America’s governments have submitted enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). She called upon parliamentary delegates to pressure their governments to come forward with their NDCs as soon as possible and emphasised the urgency of seeing commitments from countries around the world. She also pointed out that Latin America has a wealth of natural resources and clean energy opportunities, the transition to which will bring cost-effective energy and economic growth.
Senator Jorge Eduardo Londoño then provided a presentation on the Colombian climate experience. He explained that the Colombian Government has committed to reduce emissions by 51% by 2030 but that national legislation needs to be implemented to make this commitment a reality. He expressed concern over the widescale deforestation which has been seen across Colombia, as well as the use of fracking and hydrogen. Senator Jorge Londoño emphasised that the Congress’ Environment Committee is in favour of investment in renewable energy and a detailed transition policy. Senator Juan Sartori followed with an update from Uruguay, noting how vulnerable his country is to the effects of climate change. He described how in recent years Uruguayans have experienced increased storms, extreme temperatures, and flooding and that last year 110,000 people were displaced as a result of floods. Because of these experiences, the Government has been working on mitigation projects for some time. Notable achievements include the transition of public transport to electric vehicles and the creation of a 550km electric highway equipped with charging stations.
These presentations sparked productive conversation between delegates, all of whom shared details of their parliamentary work, national climate initiatives, and priorities for COP26 negotiations. BGIPU would like to thank HE Ambassador Clouder and all the parliamentary delegates who participated in these timely and important discussions.