Prospects for Energy Integration in Latin America


As Posted on American University's Center for Latin American and Latino Studies Blog on May 29, 2014

South America’s presidents began discussing energy integration years before UNASUR made it one of its central initiatives, but these efforts have been hobbled by differences on what role the private and public sectors should play. One tangible project that has emerged from UNASUR seeks to interconnect the electricity grids of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. While the Colombian, Ecuadorian, and Peruvian grids (as well as that of Venezuela) are already linked, cross-border transmission of electric power is relatively insignificant.

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12/21/15. 05:56:22 pm. Categories: Articles ,

Replicating the U.S. Shale Gas Revolution in Latin America


As Posted on American University's Center for Latin American and Latino Studies Blog, September 7, 2013

The shale gas revolution in the United States promises not only to soon make the country energy self- sufficient but also serve as the catalyst for a major revival of manufacturing. Similar high hopes have been raised for Latin America, where some of the planet’s largest reserves of shale gas are found. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, Argentina is said to have the world’s second largest reserves of technically recoverable shale gas (China is first). The United States is currently in fourth place, followed by Canada and Mexico. Brazil is in tenth place, with Chile and Paraguay not far behind. The possibility that Latin America can pursue a successful shale gas strategy, however, is tempered by a number of important legal and/or geological differences that can serve as important bottlenecks. In addition, the region’s tumultuous politics often get in the way of implementing policies that boost investment and encourage a highly productive energy sector.

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12/21/15. 05:44:38 pm. Categories: Articles ,

The Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) as a Metaphor for the Decline of United States Hegemony in the Western Hemisphere

As Published in Volumes 26 and 27 of Latin American Essays, MACLAS (Mid-Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies), 2014, pp. 19-32

Thomas Andrew O’Keefe
Mercosur Consulting Group, Ltd. & Stanford University


The idea for an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas was first floated by then Senator Barack Hussein Obama in the sole policy address he gave on Latin America and the Caribbean during his initial run for the White House. The primary purpose of that May 2008 speech in Miami was to garner Cuban-American votes for his candidacy as well as that of two Cuban-American Democrats and one Colombian-American challenging incumbent Cuban-American Republican congresspersons from south Florida.[1] Not surprisingly, the speech focused heavily on U.S. relations with Cuba. Obama did, however, mention a proposal to create an Energy Partnership for the Americas. In particular, Obama stated that, if elected, his administration would allow industrial emitters of greenhouse gases in the United States to offset a portion of their emissions by investing in low carbon energy projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. He also pledged to increase research and development across the Americas in clean coal technology, in the next generation of sustainable biofuels not taken from food crops, and in wind, solar and nuclear energy.

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03/13/14. 01:53:16 pm. Categories: Articles, Latin American Law & Business Report ,

Promoting Energy Security and Tackling Climate Change: Missed Opportunities at the Cartagena Summit

[ excerpt from "The Road to Hemispheric Cooperation: Beyond the Cartagena Summit of the Americas" (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, July 2012)

By Thomas Andrew O’Keefe

The Context

One of the most pressing issues affecting the future of countries in the Western Hemisphere is securing reliable and affordable energy resources that do not contribute to climate change or further degrade the environment. A report issued by the United Nations Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in December 2009 noted that while the greenhouse gas emissions of Latin America and the Caribbean represent a small share of the global level, the region will be severely impacted by climate change.1 Furthermore, some areas of Latin America are expected to experience severe water stress, which will affect the water supply and hydroelectric power generation. This could lead to much greater reliance on fossil fuels than is currently the case. In general, the anticipated rise in sea levels due to melting polar ice will increase the number of people displaced and the land lost due to permanent flooding. Small Caribbean island states will be especially impacted. Climate change will also translate into significant and often irreversible losses in biodiversity, which is particularly serious in a region that encompasses several of the most bio-diverse countries in the world.

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08/11/12. 06:36:41 pm. Categories: Articles ,

IACC Part II - Responding to Challenges; Chapter 5: Building on Sub-Regional Economic Integration Projects to Forge An Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas

Inter-American Cooperation at a Crossroads publication download order form

Inter-American Cooperation at a Crossroads: Part II - Responding to Challenges; Chapter 5: Building on Sub-Regional Economic Integration Projects to Forge an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas; by Thomas Andrew O'Keefe


By the time U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama appeared at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad in April 2009, the ambitious initiative to economically integrate the Americas that had previously dominated the Summit of the Americas process lay in tatters. Accordingly, there was much speculation as to what Obama would say in Port-of-Spain, especially given that US relations with the Western Hemisphere had barely surfaced as a topic of debate during the presidential campaign. The only policy address Obama had given during the campaign on Latin America and the Caribbean was to the right-wing Cuban American National Foundation in Miami, in May 2008. That speech had focused almost exclusively on topics designed to attract votes from the influential Cuban-American community in South Florida.

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05/10/11. 11:42:41 am. Categories: Articles ,

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