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 ,

The Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas

By Thomas Andrew O’Keefe (Mercosur Consulting Group, Ltd.)
Latin American Law & Business Report, Volume 18, Number 5 May 2010


The first ministerial for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) occurred in Washington, D.C. on April 15-16, 2010 and was attended by 32 of the 35 governments in the Western Hemisphere. The first day of the energy ministerial, hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank, was open to the private sector, academics, and non-governmental organizations. ECPA is the first initiative offered by the Obama administration, and likely to be the only one during its first term in office, encompassing the entire Western Hemisphere.

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02/11/11. 05:20:48 pm. Categories: Articles ,

While the United States Slept, South America Walked

As published in Volume 24 of the MACLAS (Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies) Latin American Essays (2011), pp. 43-55.

By Thomas Andrew O’Keefe
Stanford University

I. Introduction

Since the terrorist attacks on the United States mainland in September 2001, the strong political and economic influence that the United States once wielded over South America has steadily eroded as a result of rising new global economic powers and a multiplicity of self-inflicted foreign policy fiascos under the Bush administration that forced officials in Washington, D.C. to turn their attention elsewhere in the world. Despite initial promising rhetoric from the Obama administration of a new relationship with the South American continent premised on a partnership, particularly on the issues of energy security and climate change, the loss of influence continues. The United States remains mired in intractable conflicts in Western Asia, its economic recovery tenuous, and a highly partisan political system at the Federal level makes it impossible to achieve a consensus on addressing major issues of importance to the future of not only the country but the planet.

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04/04/10. 08:01:40 pm. Categories: Articles, Latin American Law & Business Report ,

The Role the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Plays within the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM) and in the Caribbean’s Relationship with the World Economy

The Role the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Plays within the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM) and in the Caribbean’s Relationship with the World Economy

Prepared Exclusively for the Annual Conference of the International Studies Association
Latin American and Caribbean Regionalism in the Global Economic Crisis II New Orleans, LA., February 19, 2010

Download paper here.

The roots of the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM) lie in the West Indies Federation (1958-1962) and the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) founded in 1965. The rationale behind the Federation was that the former British colonies in the Caribbean were too small to be viable economic entities on their own.2 London therefore sought to move them to independence as part of a political union. The capital of this new political union would be Port of Spain in Trinidad. Unfortunately, this experiment in political federation proved short-lived, as the two largest territories, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, jostled with each other to achieve preeminence in the West Indies Federation. In 1961 a plebiscite was held in Jamaica, and a majority of that country’s citizens favored withdrawal. Shortly after the collapse of the West Indies Federation in 1962, initiatives were taken by the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States to explore the possibility of some form of integration of the small islands of the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados.3 These initiatives led to the creation of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. In 1965, the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Guiana, and Trinidad and Tobago signed the Dickenson Bay Agreement to Establish a Caribbean Free Trade Association or CARIFTA.4 This Agreement was amended in 1968 to include other territories in the Caribbean (i.e., Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1968, and British Honduras in 1971). As outlined in Article 2 of the Agreement, the objectives of CARIFTA were to:

  1. promote the expansion and diversification of trade;
  2. ensure that trade took place between the member states in conditions of fair competition;
  3. encourage the progressive development of the member economies; and,
  4. foster the harmonious development of Caribbean trade and its liberalization by the removal of barriers.
Tags: caricom, oecs
02/19/10. 06:30:32 pm. Categories: Articles ,

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