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A Green Recovery in Latin America

22 Mar 2021 10:46 AM | Sarah Carroll (Administrator)

Wind turbines run by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) are seen along a ridge line in Guanacaste, Costa Rica on March 26, 2015.

Seeing Green

This week, Latin American policymakers presented road maps to a low-carbon economic recovery in two different international forums. Costa Rica, for its part, aims to build nodes for different green jobs across the country. These will be meticulously planned according to such factors as energy demand and wind speed, as detailed by a senior official at a United Nations sustainable development forum.

At the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) annual assembly, Colombian officials mentioned their five-year stimulus plan, which likewise aims to create 114,300 green jobs. “Colombia today is the Latin American country that is leading the energy transition,” said President Iván Duque, adding that the country recently pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 51 percent by 2030.

In Latin America, as elsewhere in the world, political leaders are at least paying lip service to making their post-coronavirus economies more sustainable. Preliminary reports on the makeup of stimulus packages around the region suggest that a few are even taking concrete steps toward green job creation. On balance, though, they could do far better.

Vivid Economics’ Greenness of Stimulus Index identified new sustainable investments such as green infrastructure in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico; conservation programs in Colombia; and subsidies for green products in Brazil. Still, each of those four countries earned aggregate negative scores in the index: They have also pumped money toward environmentally harmful products and infrastructure investments, and eased some environmental standards.

A U.N. Environment Program report that tracked recovery measures in the world’s 50 largest economies ranked Chile’s recovery spending the greenest in Latin America. The Chilean government says it is committing at least $1.3 billion to environmentally friendly measures such as installing electric bus terminals and retrofitting public buildings.

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