Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean

Tough times for fossil fuels

Is it ‘game over’ for fossil fuels and if so, what are the implications for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)? The ‘end of oil’ has frequently been predicted but seems unlikely in the short term. What does seem clear is that a relatively gradual process of energy transition is under way, involving a shift away from polluting fossil fuels such as a coal, oil, and gas towards cleaner renewable energy such as hydro, wind, and solar. But opinions are split on the speed, shape, and duration of that transition. Some believe peak oil – defined as the maximum production point for oil and gas – may have already occurred in 2019, the year before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Others believe the peak is still to come and could happen any time between now and 2040. When, how, and if it happens, peak oil has major implications for net oil exporting and oil importing LAC countries. Their patterns of energy use are shifting, with consequences for the pace and quality of economic growth and employment.

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