Category Archives: Latin America

Governing Climate Change: New Ideas and Latin American Leadership as Peru Prepares to Host the 2014 UN Climate Negotiations

Climate Change final

April16, 2014 – Time: High Level Plenary Sessions 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Location: Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University -111 Thayer Street – Providence, RI

The conference will be live-streamed and will be available to view after the conference. The live-stream link is:


The conference “Governing Climate Change” will take place on April 16, 2014 at Brown University. The conference is co-organized by the Climate and Development Lab and Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

The conference is supported by Brown University’s Office of the President, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (CLACS), the Center for Environmental Studies (CES), and the Watson Institute for International Studies with support from Fundación Botín and the Starr Lectureship Fund.

It will provide a unique and neutral space to explore how new ideas and leadership from Latin America are changing climate change discourse and governance. The meeting will have a special focus on Peru’s role as incoming president of the Twentieth Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the UNFCCC in December 2014, in Lima.

There will be three high level plenaries on April 16 which will all be live-streamed: 

9:00 – 10:30 am – First High level plenary: An Ambitious Global Climate Agreement Must Start at Home: The Imperative of Presidential Leadership

Chair: Professor Rich Snyder, Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Brown University

Timmons Roberts, Ittleson Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology, Center for Environmental Studies, Brown University

Former President of Chile and Professor-at-large Ricardo Lagos at Brown University

Former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon and Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate

Questions and Answers

10:45 -12:30 pm – Second High level plenary: New Ideas and Latin American Leadership on Climate Change

Chair: Timmons Roberts

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (live video)

Manual Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of the Environment of Peru and COP20 President

Luis Alfonso de Alba, Mexico’s Ambassador to Austria and formerly Mexico’s Special Representative for Climate Change

Rene Orellana, Head of Delegation to the UNFCCC, Bolivia (

Questions and Answers

1:30 – 3:30pm – Third High level plenary: Breaking the Impasse? Prospects and Ideas for Securing Progress at the UNFCCC in 2014 and 2015

Chair: Lisa Friedman, Deputy Editor, ClimateWire

Sir David King, the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change

Pa Ousman, Director of the Department of Water Resources and Special Climate Envoy, The Gambia

María Laura Rojas Vallejo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia

Olai Uludong, Nauru and Lead Negotiator of the Alliance of Small Island States

Rene Orellana, Head of Delegation to the UNFCCC, Bolivia

Alejandro Rivera, Director of Environmental Governance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico

Jorge Voto-Bernales, Peru’s Special Representative for Climate Change

Contact Information: For more information, send an email to paola_eisner[at]


Latin American climate policy weakened by Chinese business deals

By Guy Edwards and J. Timmons Roberts

China Brazil

Recently, China is behind a new wave of trade and commercial ties across Latin American which focuses almost exclusively on natural resources including fossil fuels, mining and agricultural commodities.

China’s rapidly increasing investment, trade and loans in Latin America may be entrenching a heavily polluting economic model which is out of step with the required action to achieve cleaner and more sustainable economies.

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A High-Carbon Partnership? Chinese-Latin American Relations in a Carbon-Constrained World

By Guy Edwards and J. Timmons Roberts 

CDL recoperefineria_g

The Chinese financed project would replace Costa Rica’s old national oil refinery.

China’s rapidly increasing investment, trade and loans in Latin America may be entrenching high-carbon development pathways in the region, a trend scarcely mentioned in policy circles. High-carbon activities include the extraction of fossil fuels and other natural resources, expansion of large-scale agriculture and the energy-intensive stages of processing natural resources into intermediate goods.

This paper addresses three examples, including Chinese investments in Venezuela’s oil sector and a Costa Rican oil refinery, and Chinese investment in and purchases of Brazilian soybeans.

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Venezuela’s 2014 climate summit faces credibility crisis

By Guy Edwards, Michael Murphy and Paola Eisner


Deteriorating political stability, which has allegedly left 150 injured and 50 dead, does not bode well for Venezuela’s plans to host a climate summit in November before the UN Climate Convention meets in Peru this December.

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Three ways for Peru to secure progress on the road to COP20 in Lima

By Guy Edwards and Timmons Roberts

This year Lima will host the next major round of UN Climate Change negotiations. The opportunity to establish climate change as a key domestic issue and achieve progress at the UN negotiations will not come around for another generation.

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UN Climate Negotiations: Indigenous Resistance from Within

By Camila Bustos


In 2009, Members of Indigenous Organizations Including COICA Gathered to Form a Human Banner. Photo Credit:

As climate finance and “loss and damage” payments dominated the agenda at last November’s United Nations climate change negotiations in Warsaw, Poland, indigenous peoples’ groups fought to be heard.

One of the most vocal and visible indigenous groups at the UN climate talks, COICA (The Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon) was founded in 1984 as the umbrella group for more than 350 indigenous organizations in nine different countries. It works to address issues of human rights, self-determination, and natural resource protection.

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The CDL’s policy briefings and scholarly articles from 2013


The following post provides a list of the CDL’s latest policy reports and scholarly articles published in 2013:

Scholarly Articles

2013 “No Talk, but Some Walk: The Obama Administration’s First Term Rhetoric on Climate Change and its International Climate Budget Commitments.” Graciela Kincaid and J. Timmons Roberts. Global Environmental Politics 13(4) November, 2013. Available online here.

2013 “The impact of climate change on human security in Latin America and the Caribbean” Úrsula Oswald Spring, Hans Günter Brauch, Guy Edwards and J. Timmons Roberts in Climate change and Human Security Handbook, Michael Redclift and Marco Grasso (eds.) Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. More information available here.

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