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Denée Reaves’s Blog

Latin America Green News: energy efficiency in Chile, Costa Rica protects ozone and air quality in Mexico

Denée Reaves

Posted September 30, 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 22nd-28th, 2013

Chile

A report on the status of non-conventional renewable energies projects in Chile shows that projects totaling over one thousand megawatts are in operation and more than 700 MW are under construction, Projects totaling nearly 9,000 MW have been approved and an additional  3,500  MW are under review. Of the projects already in operation, the majority are in bioenergy, and of the projects in construction, the majority are in wind and solar. (Reporte CER Boletín Septiember 2013)

The Chilean government has proposed a national plan for energy efficiency that would reduce CO2 emissions by 1.2 million tons annually, as well as generate USD 500 million in savings per year. The only OECD country without an energy efficiency plan, Chile is experiencing an increased demand for electricity to support its burgeoning development. The plan’s objectives include eliminating less-efficient, traditional incandescent light bulbs and establishing minimum standards for energy efficiency. (Pulso 9/26/2013)

Last month, tourists near a Chilean mountain town spotted twenty-two sick condors, two of which died from pesticide poisoning according to newly released test results. The results determined that the condors had eaten from the animal carcasses of several predator species, which farmers, due to the large number of wild dog packs in the region, often poison in order to protect their livestock. Almost all of the twenty surviving birds have been treated and released back into the wild. (The Santiago Times 9/23/2013)

Costa Rica

A panel at Costa Rica’s sustainable cities roundtable declared the San Jose Metropolitan Area to be “the antithesis of a sustainable city”. Both the largest urban area in Costa Rica and home to its capital, the San Jose Metropolitan Area is representative of urban centers across Latin America: diffuse, segregated, fragmented, lacking cohesive structure, and inefficient with regard to resource and energy consumption. The panel called for a strategic vision for urban development that will take advantage of new technologies to make Latin American cities more sustainable. (El Financiero 9/27/2013)

Costa Rica has prohibited the import of methyl bromide, a chemical pesticide known to damage the ozone layer. Costa Rica is the first Central American country to cease using methyl bromide, a measure that it adopted in compliance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, ratified by Costa Rica in 1991. (La Nación 9/24/3013)

Mexico

The poor air quality in Mexico’s capital has cost the country more than USD 1.06 billion since 2010, according to a risk analysis done by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO). That sum is broken down into productivity losses (just shy of USD 875 million) and health costs (about USD 190 million). IMCO also reported that if the current Mexican administration does not undertake sufficient measures to improve air quality, the country could suffer a further economic loss of over USD 1.5 billion over the next six years. (Rumbo de México, 9/26/2013)

The president of Mexico’s CONEICO, a green business council, explained that climate change is spurring green businesses that generate well-being and more employment. He noted that the private sector is increasingly interested in clean energy and that best practices can help companies reduce 30% of their water consumption. The number of Mexican companies implementing green practices rose by 20% in 2012. (El Sol de Irapuato 9/26/2013)

The Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) undertook cleanups of several beaches in the reserve of the Upper Gulf of California Biosphere. The government of the state of Sonora provided special machinery for cleaning the sand and clearing it of solid waste. (Dossierpolitico.com 9/27/2013)

Regional

Nicaragua aims to reduce its national consumption of wood for cooking from 45.8% to 10% over the next seven years. About 80% of Nicaraguan wood consumption is for cooking, which is not only environmentally unsustainable, but also the cause of health problems for an estimated two million people. This initiative emerged in the framework of Nicaragua’s new Strategic Plan for the Sustainable Energy Use of Wood and Vegetal Carbon for the period 2013 to 2022. (ElPaís.cr 9/20/2013)

For more news on the issues we care about visit our Latin America 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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