Open letter to Latin America and the Caribbean Ministers ahead of COP28

Posted on October, 25 2023

An open letter calls for courageous leadership from Latin America and the Caribbean to unite behind shared outcomes at COP28
Dear Latin America and Caribbean Ministers, 

On a daily basis, Latin American and Caribbean communities grapple with the profound repercussions of the climate crisis: from wildfires ravaging forests, to tropical cyclones devastating lives and livelihoods, to record-breaking droughts threatening access to food. At the same time, the Latin American and Caribbean region offers some of the most relevant solutions to the current climate crisis, thanks to its natural ecosystems like the Amazon, the Atlantic forest, the Patagonian peatlands, the Gran Chaco Americano, the wetlands or the extended coasts with rich biodiversity. Many of these assets place us in a prime position to lead on the clean energy transition, as well as on the conservation of our biodiversity. 

The recently published Global Stocktake Synthesis report further highlights just how far off track we are. It also highlights key opportunities for dramatically scaling up climate action. COP30 - to be organized by Brazil in Belém in 2025 - offers a prime moment for our region to demonstrate its leadership in embracing these opportunities.

Taking the lead in responding to these challenges with innovative local solutions will help position Latin America and the Caribbean competitively on a global stage. It will also help to address broader issues, exacerbated by climate change, which our region faces, such as inequality, poverty, and staggering levels of debt. That is why we are calling on the political leadership of our continent at all levels to act on those findings and help deliver an ambitious outcome at COP28 — an outcome that serves to rapidly accelerate global climate action; to inform new, more ambitious domestic targets to put the world on a track that keeps global heating within the 1.5°C limit of the Paris Agreement; and to enhance international cooperation on climate change. 

To accelerate our efforts, we must unite behind these necessary solutions, setting aside our differences and working collaboratively with all stakeholders. We stand ready to unlock these opportunities, and we call upon our Heads of State to chart a clear course toward achieving the below transformations in response to the Global Stocktake:

1. Transform our energy systems
  • At least triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 with the aim of full decarbonization by 2050 - requiring a dramatic uplift in global investment into clean energy sources, increasing the resilience of energy systems to adverse effects of climate change.
  • Drive towards a just and equitable phase out of fossil fuels, including halting all new exploration of oil and gas, to help reduce all GHG emissions by at least 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035 below 2019 levels - requiring the phase out of public financing for fossil fuels, including subsidies. Within this goal, reduce methane emissions from fossil fuel by 75% by 2030 and increase efforts to reduce 30% methane emissions by waste.
  • Transition heavy-emitting sectors - including accelerating fossil-fuel free transport - by enhancing energy efficiency, electrifying end use sectors, and making clean technologies the most affordable, accessible and attractive option in all regions by 2030.
2. Transform food systems and our relationship to nature
  • Equitably transform food systems in order to ensure food security, build resilience and reduce emissions while increasing yields. This involves significant efforts to reduce food loss and per capita food waste, aiming to cut these figures in half compared to the 2019 level, while increasing consumption of more healthy and plant based diets. By 2030, foster climate resilient, sustainable agriculture that increases yields by 17%  without expansion of the agricultural frontier and reduces current GHG emissions from agricultural production by 25% by 2030 from 2020 levels;
  • Conserve what we have by halting land and coastal ecosystem degradation by 2030, securing and upholding Indigenous Peoples' land rights, encouraging sustainable land-use practices, and stopping agricultural expansion into natural ecosystems;
  • Restore what we’ve lost, revitalizing degraded ecosystems such as forests and peatlands, in turn boosting livelihoods, supporting biodiversity, and sequestering carbon. 
3. Transform our financial systems - in particular to bolster the response to climate impacts by enhancing capacities for adaptation and responding to loss and damage,
  • Design and implement mechanisms that allow for the release of public debt through innovative instruments to finance investment requirements in infrastructure for adaptation by 2030 at the latest, with a view to addressing climate-related needs.
  • Transparently double down on delivering existing climate finance commitments; build support for a global new finance goal that significantly surpasses $100bn; and urgently shift all global financial flows at scale to reduce emissions and facilitate climate-resilient, just and inclusive development;
  • Follow-through on at least doubling adaptation finance by 2025, significantly increasing the share, amount, quality, and accessibility of adaptation, loss and damage finance, including more effectively channeling resources to the local level;
  • Align market incentives and valuations with the goals of the Paris Agreement through government policy that helps shift market fundamentals, thus empowering MDBs, IFIs, and private capital to flow towards building resilience, limiting temperature warming to 1.5°C  and contributing to nature goals.
Working together, we can make COP28 the point at which we pivot into responding dynamically to the Global Stocktake. We need to make this a turning point through which our capacity to innovate for an equitable, net-zero, resilient, and nature positive future is truly unleashed. Let’s spring forward into 2024 with a clear vision and efficient implementation to get us back on track for delivering the Paris Agreement, and to pave the way towards a successful COP30.

How will you choose to lead?

Camila Escobar, CEO Procafecol S.A. (Juan Valdez)
Carolina Schmidt, COP25 President
Christiana Figueres, Co-Founder, Global Optimism
Claudia Lopez, Mayor of Bogotá
Claudio Muñoz, Chile Chapter Zero President
Diana McCaulay, Fundadora, Jamaica Environment Trust
Eduardo Paes, Mayor Rio de Janeiro
Francisco Vera, Activist
Gabriel Baracatt, Executive Director, Avina
Gonzalo Muñoz, High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP25
Juan Carlos Mora Uribe, CEO Bancolombia
Julieta Martinez, Founder, Tremendas
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Global Leader of Climate & Energy, WWF
Marcelo Mena, CEO, The Global Methane Hub
Nigel Edwards, Executive Director, Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation
Ambassador Patricia Espinosa, CEO and Founding Partner, onepoint5, Former Executive Secretary UNFCCC and former Foreign Minister of Mexico
Pedro Tarak, Co-Founder, Sistema B
Racquel Moses, CEO, Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator
Ati Viviam Villafaña, Co-Founder, Latin American Youth Climate Scholarships (LAYCS)
Yolanda Kakabadse, Former President, WWF and IUCN
Renewable energy in Latin America and the Caribbean
© Gianfranco Vivi / Shutterstock