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Long-term emissions reduction: building climate pathways in Latin America

8 June 2020, 9:59 BST 3 min read

In June 2020, the project will enter its peer learning phase, where project states will share their experiences with other states and regions around the world as they develop pathways towards their own climate goals.

As part of this peer learning process, government representatives from the project’s pioneer group of states and regions, São Paulo State (Brazil), Quintana Roo, Querétaro (Mexico), and Madre de Dios (Peru), have been reflecting on the importance and benefits of the project to date. 

Querétaro, Mexico

Querétaro, located two hours north of Mexico City, has a large industrial sector with significant transport and energy demands that contribute to increasing local GHG emissions. Understanding this, the Climate Pathway Project offers Querétaro an opportunity to take targeted action in these sectors.

“With the Climate Pathway Project, we are developing a competitive strategy to modify our energy matrix without having a negative impact on the economy”.

Ricardo Torres, Querétaro’s Undersecretary of Environment at the Secretariat of Sustainable Environment (SEDSU)

Although the state has been acting on climate change for years, starting with the State Program of Action against Climate Change, Torres believes the advantage of the Climate Pathway Project is that: 

“Previously, the climate change programs only reflected the actions that sectors were willing to take without the pressure of a goal, whereas this project proposes a goal and a timeframe, which makes it very innovative.”

São Paulo State, Brazil

Like Querétaro, São Paulo State’s position as the industrial and economic powerhouse of Brazil continues to drive energy and transport demands, and these high-emitting sectors dominate state emissions. 

Taking action for emissions reduction in these sectors will therefore help São Paulo to achieve its climate goals, as explained by Margarette Escobar, an International Advisor for the Secretariat of Infrastructure and Environment (SIMA):

“It is not enough to have legislation, [states and regions require] a short, medium, and long-term action plan.” 

Margarette Escobar, International Advisor for the Secretariat of Infrastructure and Environment (SIMA)

In 2018, São Paulo State took part in a secondment with the Welsh Government, as part of the Under2 Coalition’s Future Fund initiative. Based on the UK 2050 Calculator that they were introduced to on this visit, São Paulo developed a pathway for its energy sector. Now, through the Climate Pathway Project, it is expanding its pathway to include other sectors including waste and land use change. 

Quintana Roo, Mexico

In Quintana Roo, well-known for its idyllic landscapes and the beauty of its Mayan monuments, the government is using its ambitious vision to build lasting change. 

Benito, Director of Climate Change at the Secretariat of Ecology and Environment (SEMA) imagines Quintana Roo with:

“Strong rural development that places an emphasis on sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry activities with significant support for the quality of life of the Mayan communities and with significant participation of vulnerable sectors of the population (women and youth).”

Benito, Director of Climate Change at the Secretariat of Ecology and Environment (SEMA)

He also expresses his hopes for the development of a more sustainable tourism industry that benefits local people by relying more on local products and services. 

Madre de Dios, Peru

Local communities and businesses are central to climate change plans in Madre de Dios, a Peruvian region located in the Amazon Basin with winding rivers and abundant wildlife.

Our partner Walter Heredia, Director of the International Technical Cooperation Office explains how the region has:

“…achieved a strong commitment within the regional government” whilst at the same time “society has also shown a great interest in being involved and this has been seen in high participation in [project] workshops”

Walter Heredia, Director of the International Technical Cooperation

Heredia is keen to highlight the importance of collaborating with key stakeholders from the public, private and academic sectors as well as civil society groups, including indigenous communities. This collaboration will ensure that everyone benefits from the actions being taken at government level.

Both Heredia and Robles de Benito from Quintana Roo, talk enthusiastically about the benefits of connecting the different efforts being made on climate change across their regions so that they can be amplified. In demonstrating these benefits to the Peruvian government, Heredia has also achieved recognition at a national level for Madre de Dios’ important leadership role in climate action, with Minister of the Environment, Fabiola Muñoz, making the decision to present Madre de Dios as the model for other regions during COP26 in November 2021 due to its climate change initiatives. 

In their position between national and local governments, states and regions are uniquely placed to take innovative climate action and to influence others to do the same.  By engaging in peer-to-peer learning, we hope that state and regional governments in Latin America and the rest of the world are able to learn from and reflect on the experiences of their peers, in order to apply this knowledge towards developing and implementing their own climate actions.

Join our group of pioneers and start your pathway to decarbonization.

For more information on the Climate Pathways Project