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Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images

GLASGOW, Scotland — Trillions of dollars worth of green investments are coming, and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Mauricio Claver-Carone tells Axios he’s “in a race” to secure a big slice of the pie for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Why it matters: Climate change is causing droughts and extreme weather across the region, which in turn drive migration and threaten the food supply from the “bread basket of the world,” Claver-Carone said in an interview at the COP26 climate summit.

  • The region needs action on climate change, he tells Axios, and it also needs some of the billions or even trillions of dollars coming available to finance it.

The big picture: The numbers involved are both mind-numbingly large and vaguely defined.

  • A coalition of financial institutions announced Wednesday at the summit that they would mobilize up to $100 trillion in investments by 2050 to help countries reach “net zero” emissions.
  • Claver-Carone cites a different number: the $53 trillion in assets Bloomberg Intelligence expects to be committed to Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) by 2025.
  • “If I get 10%, that’s $5.3 trillion, the size of Japan’s GDP — we just transformed the region from an investment perspective,” he says.

Between the lines: ESG and “net zero” investments are ill-defined and notoriously opaque. “Sometimes it can be a bit of a scam,” Claver-Carone said.

  • But the investor demand is clearly there, and the IDB is taking steps like attaching transparency standards to new green bonds in order to help funnel more of them to the region.
  • If the IDB supports projects like transitioning a power company from fossil fuel to solar energy, private funding will flow in behind them, he says.

The state of play: Some countries in the region, such as Costa Rica and Chile, are leaning into the transition to renewable energy, he says. Other leaders see a “zero-sum game” where phasing out fossil fuels means slower economic growth.

  • Claver-Carone contends the hesitancy will start to fade “once political leaders start seeing it in purely economic terms — that this is a net job creator and a net economic growth creator and a net incentive for foreign investment.”
  • But some leaders may look at recent protests over rises in fuel prices or cuts in fuel subsidies (see Ecuador in 2019 or Brazil right now) and question whether an energy transition is all upside.
  • Some, like Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, are clearly doubling down on fossil fuels.

The bottom line: Claver-Carone is convinced that betting big on renewable energy and environmental protection now will pay both immediate and long-term dividends for the region’s environment and its economies. But not everyone has signed up for the race.

Go deeper:

Research: Protected land status determines a forest's fate

Get more news that matters about Latinos in the hemisphere, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sign up for the Axios Latino newsletter.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 17, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Energy efficiency gains are too slow for a sustainable climate path

mage via the International Energy Agency's Energy Efficiency 2021 report

A new International Energy Agency report shows rising investment in energy efficiency and gains in the efficiency of the global economy, but both lag levels needed for a sustainable climate path.

Why it matters: Boosting efficiency is vital to meeting climate goals.

Updated 45 mins ago - Health

Massage, facial, pedicure... intravenous drip?

A salon on the Upper East Side of New York that offers IV drip therapies. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios

IV drips — the kind you might get if you're rushed to the hospital — are trending as a spa treatment, thanks in part to endorsements by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Madonna.

Why it matters: Like other "wellness" trends with a whiff of medical imprimatur, IV nutrient drips can be harmless or mildly restorative — or go awry, particularly in the wrong hands.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

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