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French President Emmanuel Macron and Bolivian President Evo Morales at the One Planet Summit in December 2017. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America may be taking more concrete steps to meet Paris Agreement targets than any other region, according to a new report from the Atlantic Council.

Why it matters: Ahead of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), when countries will check in on their national plans to implement the Paris Agreement, Latin America has demonstrated how smart policy and government support can lower fuel costs and emissions. Energy solutions developed there could be showcased at COP24 for other developing countries to emulate.

Latin America's largest emitters have pursued a number of effective emission-reduction strategies, including reducing energy subsidies, redesigning dated tariff systems, liberalizing power markets, creating national energy efficiency initiatives and building liquified natural gas (LNG) import infrastructure to back up hydro and renewable power.

Yes, but: Central America and the Caribbean lag further behind. Central America needs more support for integrating national electricity grids, targeting subsidies and adopting a regional approach to LNG imports. The Caribbean needs credit, help preparing modern power purchase agreements and financing options for distributed power systems.

The bottom line: Even as the U.S. seeks to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the U.S. can still help Central America and the Caribbean meet their own climate targets by fast-tracking LNG exports, training regulators on tariff design and system integration and using its vote in multilateral development banks to provide the region with credit support and financing.

David L. Goldwyn is chairman of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center Advisory Board and a former special envoy for international energy at the State Department.

Go deeper

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President Biden, during a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

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Why it matters: The rapid influx of unaccompanied children is building into the administration's first new crisis. A presentation created by the Domestic Policy Council spells out the dimensions with nearly 40 slides full of charts and details.

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Sen. Martin Heinrich to introduce plan for Puerto Rico statehood

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) at a hearing on Feb. 23, 2021 in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) announced Tuesday they would introduce legislation to start the motions for Puerto Rico statehood.

Why it matters: More than 52% of Puerto Ricans voted last November in favor of statehood, three years after Hurricane Maria struck the island and caused one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. It exposed the island's vulnerable position as a U.S. territory and its lack of resources to battle poverty.