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23 April 2024 - 23 April 2024

1:00PM - 2:00PM


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Lira Lazaro, Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Energy and Environment, University of São Paulo (IEE-USP) & Esteban Serrani, Researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET)

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Energy Transitions in Latin America: The Tough Route to Sustainable Development

23 April 2024 1-2pm

Latin America has significant potential for renewable energy generation due to its abundant natural resources, including hydroelectric, biomass, solar, and wind power, as well as minerals essential for developing clean energy technologies, such as lithium. However, the energy transition in some countries in the region has been slow due to several factors, including political instability, economic challenges, and regulatory barriers. In addition, more political will is often needed to support renewable energy, as some governments prioritize traditional energy sources over renewable energy. Some Latin American countries have made progress in the transition to renewable energy. Uruguay, for example, has successfully converted to renewable energy, with most of its electricity coming from wind and solar power. In contrast, some countries in the region are still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, particularly oil and gas. For example, Venezuela and Mexico continue to rely on oil as an important source of revenue and energy despite the potential for renewable energy.

As the world transitions to renewable energy, examining whether this transition will lead to a more equitable and just society in Latin America is critical. It is important to consider how the benefits of the energy transition will be distributed so that vulnerable communities are not left behind. Will higher-income groups change their consumption patterns to adopt sustainable practices, or will growth benefit only a few privileged groups? For example, how can the shift to electric mobility in Latin America be used to improve public transport infrastructure and systems rather than simply replacing private fossil fuel cars with electric ones? These questions require a complex and critical perspective that highlights emerging inequities.


Lira Lazaro holds a Ph.D. in Earth System Science from the National Institute of Space Research (CST-INPE), and a master’s and Ph.D. in Latin American Integration from the University of São Paulo (USP-PROLAM). She was a Visiting Researcher at the Durham Energy Institute and the Department of Anthropology, University of Durham, UK. Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Energy and Environment, University of São Paulo (IEE-USP). Researcher in the Global Environmental Governance and Carbon Market Research Group, School of Administration at UFBA, Brazil. Researcher at the São Paulo Center for Energy Transition Studies - CPTEn. She is a member of the Energy and Sustainable Development Working Group (GT) of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), where she coordinates two lines of research: Energy Poverty, Justice and Gender in Latin America, and Geopolitics of Energy Transition and Regional Integration. Since 2022, she has been actively involved in research on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Brazil, focusing on the development of public policy agendas.

Esteban Serrani is a Sociologist with a master’s degree in social research and a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires. He is a Researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and a Professor at the National University of San Martin, Argentina. He is the Director of the Project "Approaches to the Relationship between Energy Models and Industrial Policy in Argentina, 2002-2019" and “Analysis of the Performance of Large Industrial Companies in the Energy Transition in Argentina,” supported by the National Agency for the Promotion of Research, Technological Development, and Innovation. In Argentina, he is a Co-Director of the Center for Social Studies of the Economy at the Interdisciplinary School of High Social Studies, National University of San Martin. In Latin America, he is the coordinator of the CLACSO Working Group on "Energy and Sustainable Development", he coordinates the energy transition and climate change working group of the International Development Economics Associates-Latin America (IDEAs-LAC) and he is a member of the Academic Committee, Southern Cone Regional Center at Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies (CALAS).


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