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Denée Reaves’s Blog

Latin America Green News: Chile-India renewables cooperation, sharks fins in Costa Rica, climate change in Mexico

Denée Reaves

Posted September 20, 2013

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Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America. 

September 16-20, 2013

Chile

Chile and India will work together to ramp up renewable energy in the South American country. India’s Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Chilean Minister of Energy, Jorge Bunster met to discuss collaboration between the two countries. The joint initiative will include Chilean students studying renewable energy in Delhi and resource assessments in Chile carried out by India’s Centre for Wind Energy, Solar Energy, and Alternate Hydro Energy Centres. (Santiago Times 9/15/2013)

The Chilean Government announced the Committee of Minsters, charged with reviewing over thirty complaints against the HidroAysén, will not make a decision until after the upcoming presidential elections. This latest delay is partly due to the complexity of certain issues that must still be reviewed such as the project’s impact on forests and the ability of HidroAysén to provide low-cost power to local communities. Industry insiders also recognize that by delaying, the government hopes to avoid politicizing a technical decision. (Economía y Negocios 09/13/2013)   

A court case was filed in an international tribunal against the Swedish mining company Boliden for transporting toxic mining waste to Chile in the mid-eighties.  In 1984, Boliden sent 21 thousand tons of mining waste laced with mercury, lead and arsenic to be treated and disposed of by the Chilean company Promel. However, the waste was never processed and resulted in contamination of the local community.  Following a court case in Chile, affect citizens received indemnification for the Chilean government’s role in the matter and the new legal proceeding seeks to ensure the Swedish company also takes responsibility. (Diario UChile 09/17/2013)

Costa Rica

The five Costa Rican boats that were caught hauling a shipment of shark fins, are still receiving subsidized fuel from the Costa Rican Institute of Fish and Agriculture (INCOPESCA). The Executive President of INCOPESCA, Luis Dobles, explains that while crews are under investigation, their right to fish and to receive subsidized fuel is not impeded, until they are found guilty. Besides these five boats, there are a number of other open cases of transporting shark fins open in Costa Rica. According to environmental data, 400 thousand sharks were massacred in Costa Rican waters in 2011, with 30 tons of shark fins being exported out of the country.  (CRhoy 9/17/2013)

Costa Rican companies that export to Europe are calling for the implementation of Systems Energy Management (SGE) in order to reduce the amount of energy used in their production and exportation and to increase the value of their product. Darío Perez, director of CREARA Consultants says that implementing SGE will diminish the cost of operation and increase the profit by up to 24%. Perez recommends that companies start to question where they can save in operational costs and utilize even the simplest of methods to cut cost in those areas. (El Financiero, 9/17/2013)

Mexico

Fiscal reform in Mexico would adversely affect renewable energies, according to the president of ANES, the Mexican National Association for Solar Energy. If the reform eliminates the income tax deduction for machinery and equipment used to generate solar energy, the renewable energy sector could shrink as much as 30%. For example, whereas current solar energy projects are expected to yield economic benefits in 3 to 10 years, fiscal reform would increase the expected time before solar becomes profitable to 15 years. (Alto Nivel 9/20/13)

The Mexican Minister of Environment and Natural Resources warned the country that the impacts of the recent hurricanes and cyclones will continue to be felt into the next weeks and months all over Mexico. He emphasized that no one can deny the consequences of climate change, which is manifesting itself increasingly in meteorologically phenomena of this type, and that the current fiscal reform includes much-needed incentives for Mexico’s private sector to move toward clean energies. (Criterio, 9/18/2013)

Regional

The head of Brazil’s energy planning agency announced that, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Brazil will turn to wind power instead of nuclear power to meet its rising demand for electricity. Brazil currently produces 75% of its energy with hydroelectric dams and almost all the rest with natural gas, with only about 1% wind and 1% nuclear. But as wind power prices have declined steadily over the past few years, several foreign companies interested in clean energies have invested in wind over solar, which currently costs about four times as much. (Reuters 9/15/2013)

Informal mining in Peru has deforested more than 40,000 hectares of rainforest, according to Peru’s Minister of the Environment. The mining was done by about 5,000 illegal miners who, according to the Minister, were able to access these regions due to the discontinuation of interdiction operations. The Government’s subsequent announcement of a strategy to help formalize the mining sector by reintroducing interdictions has been met with threats of striking from the National Confederation of Artisanal Miners and Small Mineral Producers of Peru. (ElPais.cr 9/14/2013)

For more news on the issues we care about visit our Latin America Green News archive or read our other International blogs.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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