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Latin America Green News: Fire in Chile, protecting Cocos Island in Costa Rica, mobilizing for Cabo Pulmo in Mexico

Denée Reaves

Posted April 18, 2014

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

April 13th-19th, 2014

Chile

The recent fire in Valparaíso will have lasting effects on both the environment and the local population. Due to the gases and toxins released by the fire, specialists predict a decrease in air quality and an increase in health problems of the community in the coming months, especially those that helped with rescue and debris removal. The environment also will feel these effects as it will be a slow process for vegetation to return to the area of the fire, and so the land will be more susceptible to erosion and avalanches. (Fundación Terram 4/16/2014).

Five lawsuits have been filed against the developers Mediterráneo and their project Rio Puelo. The location of the proposed hydro-electricity project is in Patagonia, just east of Puerto Montt, and is home to the Domingo Cayún indigenous community. The local community, three high profile political leaders and Prosecutors for the Environment are heading the lawsuits with the argument that Chilean environmental laws were ignored during the environmental review process. Gustavo Henríquez, the original reviewer of the environmental impact statement of the project, confirms that the original report he made was tampered with. The developers have also not consulted with the Argentinean government, as their project would be on bi-national waters. (Santiago Times 4/11/2014).

Costa Rica

Efforts are progressing to protect the marine resources in the area adjacent to the Cocos Island Marine Park. Following the formal adoption of a Management Plan for Seamounts in a 9,242 km2 zone around the park, the next step will be to finalize a Public Use Regulation and Fishing Zoning Plan. These two tools will help protect the marine resources near the island and help strengthen the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor, which in addition to Costa Rica’s Cocos Island incudes Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, Panama’s Coiba Island and Colombia’s Malpelo and Gorgona Islands.  (CR Hoy 04/18/2014)

Mexico

Citizens and local civil society groups concerned about the potential impact that Cabo Dorado, the new mega-resort proposed near Cabo Pulmo National Park, would have on the park’s fragile coral reef and the region’s scarce water resources are calling for a transparent evaluation process for the project. Through an online petition, people can join in calling for a public information meeting about the project.  (Greenpeace Mexico 4/14/2014). Read more about the project on NRDC’s blog.

President Enrique Peña Nieto inaugurated the first high level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, in Mexico City on Monday. The meeting consisted of 500 leaders representing various governments, and civil organizations from the 139 countries of the United Nations. The two-day meeting served to discuss ways to fight world poverty, combine financial resources to proceed with the Millennium Development Goals, and to plan out a strategy post 2015 for combating climate change.(Excelsior 4/15/2014)

Acciona Energía has been awarded engineering, construction, commissioning and maintenance of two new wind farms in Mexico.  The wind farms, Ventika and Ventika II, represent an investment of $650 million and will produce 252 megawatts, making them one of the largest wind parks in Latin America. The project will begin construction in the second half of this year and is expected to be operational by late 2016. (Empresa Exterior 4/15/2014) 

Regional 

A recent study shows that the rising acidification of the ocean due to climate change is affecting the behavior of fish. The study, conducted near a coral reef off the coast of Papua New Guinea, shows that fish are losing their survival instinct and they are not able to detect and avoid predators as in the past. If climate change continues at its current rate, fish behavior will worsen. The study also shows that fish that have lived their whole lives in highly acidic areas are not able to adapt to the increased acidity. (La Segunda 4/14/2014)

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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