As the 25th annual La Jolla Energy Conference approached, the landmark climate agreement reached in Paris dominated headlines and pervaded the energy world. The focus on decarbonization and emissions reduction, and particularly the role of technology in the global energy transition cut across the Conference’s panels and discussions and clearly was on the minds of attendees.
Mauricio Macri’s election in late 2015 sent shockwaves across the hemisphere. Indeed, there was a period of euphoria as he announced his cabinet, economic team and desire to pursue unity and reset Argentina’s regional and global standing. Throughout the campaign, he had made clear his intentions with regards to revitalizing the country’s economic outlook, investment climate and particularly the energy sector. President Macri embraced the expectations for his administration when, during remarks to open this year’s legislative sessions, he said that his government will change the country’s history.
The Paris Agreement signifies a watershed moment in the global effort to tackle climate change. Its wide-reaching nature, emphasis on both developed and developing nations, and ongoing review mechanisms have put countries on a path towards mitigation and adaptation to a warming planet. Still, more must be done. For Latin America and the Caribbean, the latest agreement is an important marker but represents just one facet of a much broader process already underway, particularly in the energy sector.
Mexico’s monumental energy sector transformation enacted by the Peña Nieto administration also targeted the country’s transport and mobility sector with measures aimed at the transition to cleaner fuel vehicle fleets.
As the year comes to a close, the Institute of the Americas asked five energy experts what keeps them awake at night heading into 2016. Their responses covered the Western Hemisphere and issues varied from COP21 outcomes, to Brazil’s macroeconomic instability, to political shifts in Venezuela, to the changing geopolitics of oil, to renewed prospects for regional integration in the Southern Cone. On the back of the Paris Agreement and unprecedented global political will to tackle climate change, renewable financing and the transition to clean energy is an area we will also be watching as we begin the new year.
As Mexico celebrates two years since the nation embarked on its momentous energy reforms, the oil and gas sector has much to commemorate and much on which to reflect. The lackluster opening of Round One in
July ultimately enabled competitive bidding as the government responded to concerns and criticisms in the second tender process that concluded in September. The outlook for Mexico’s reforms remains positive, in part due to the efforts by regulators and officials to ensure transparency at every level. Still, some concerns persist, particularly in the area of social impact and community engagement. As Mexico moves forward, the government must build on early successes while ensuring the legal, regulatory, and judicial certainty that will buoy investor confidence and guarantee further progress.