The decisions of the world community on global climate change will have a large bearing on energy policies in the Americas and other parts of the world. The effort to limit greenhouse-gas emissions implies that national energy policies will put less emphasis on producing hydrocarbons and greater attention on alternative nonpolluting energy sources. Some Latin American countries have already begun implementing policies that de-emphasize the use of fossil fuels and promote alternative energies, such as wind power, hydroelectricity, biofuels, and nuclear power. Leaders of the larger metropolitan governments are also moving in that direction.
This issue of NotiEn examines two major conferences, both held in Mexico at the end of 2010, which addressed global climate change.
In one article, we examine how mayors from around the world viewed the global-warming issue at the World Mayors Summit on Climate (WMSC) in Mexico City on Dec. 6. The piece offers insights into the mayors' conference from the point of view of Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who hosted the event.
The second article looks at the results of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Cancún, also known as COP16, and opinions on whether the gathering was a success or a failure. There were differences within Latin America, with host country Mexico trumpeting the success of the conference because of the countries' ability to reach a level of consensus not present at the last meeting in Copenhagen. In contrast, Bolivia warned that the lack of a binding commitment on the part of industrialized nations to reduce emissions could doom the planet.
Regardless of the opinions on the results of COP16, there is consensus that something must be done to address the negative effects that the warming of the climate is having on poor nations around the world. One study indicated that 40 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean were affected by climate change between 2000 and 2009.