As US withdraws from Paris Climate Agreement, Latin America must step up

June 1, 2017

Without US participation, other countries must urgently limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Now that President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, Latin American nations must act with new urgency to combat global climate change.

In a blow to the Paris Agreement, Trump’s move sends a message that the U.S. federal government is no longer committed to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The United States, Syria, and Nicaragua are now the only nations that refuse to join the historic fight against global warming.

The Paris Agreement, which directs countries to set targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, was hailed as the first truly global climate deal to curb climate change.

“This has huge implications for the Global South in the fight against climate change,” said Astrid Puentes, Co-Executive Director of the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense, or AIDA. “We can no longer rely on the U.S. government to set an example for climate progress. Now more than ever, it’s important that Latin American countries step up efforts to curb their greenhouse gas emissions.”

Although the United States and China are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, nine percent of total global emissions come from Latin America, according to the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean.

“In a region with immense ecological diversity, Latin America has an opportunity to take a leadership role in protecting natural resources and communities by shaping a clean energy future without reliance on fossil fuels,” Puentes said. “Without the United States, Latin America now needs to lead the global fight against climate change, and AIDA will continue to be at the forefront of that fight.”

AIDA has worked with Latin American governments to increase their capacity to secure international funding for climate projects, raised awareness that many dam reservoirs emit significant amounts of methane, built a regional effort to counter the spread of hydraulic fracturing projects, and helped to protect critical carbon sinks, among other projects. As a team of environmental and legal experts, AIDA also works to protect the human rights of people and their communities throughout Latin America.

AIDA is the only regional organization in Latin America that provides free legal support to communities and organizations dedicated to protecting human rights and the environment. 


Press contact:

Astrid Puentes Riaño, Executive Co-Director, apuentes@aida-americas.org