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Denée Reaves’s Blog

Latin America Green News: frost devastates Chile's crops, the World Bank buys Costa Rica's carbon credits, and scientists measure Mexico's air pollution

Denée Reaves

Posted October 4, 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 30 – October 4, 2013

Chile

Chile’s Supreme Court suspended Endesa’s planned thermoelectric project, Punta Alcalde, this week for a second time. The reason for the postponement is unclear, though it was announced publicly that the court requires more time to analyze relevant legal precedent, experts in legal processes have commented that the use of repeated suspensions is not common. Other sources reported that the suspensions have coincided with the absences of one of the judges, who will return from vacation next week. (Diario Financiero, 10-2-2013)

An unprecedented wave of cold spring weather has caused financial catastrophe in wine and agricultural regions of Chile. Many farmers have lost their entire crops, and as the world’s fifth-largest exporter of wine, Chile stands to suffer significant losses from the decimated Chardonnay cultivations. (Santiago Times, 10-2-2013)

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has turned to South Korea for help in improving waste and water treatment. A memorandum of understanding between the two countries was signed this week by the Korean Vice-Minister for the Environment and the Costa Rican Minister of Health, signaling the start of a partnership that will use Korean technologies for treating solid waste and water in Costa Rica over the next ten years. (La Nación 10-1-2013)

Costa Rica became the first country to receive large-scale payments for forest conservation and regeneration last month. On behalf of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the World Bank signed a REDD+ Emissions Reduction Payment Agreement (ERPA) with Costa Rica, allowing the Facility to purchase carbon credits for up to USD 63 million. The land targeted in the agreement includes both public and privately owned land, 10% of which belongs to indigenous peoples, and is projected to account for the majority of carbon emissions reductions required for Costa Rica to meet its ambitious 2021 carbon neutrality goal. (Osa Conservation, 10-2-2013)

Mexico

Though it emits only 1.4% of the world’s greenhouse gases, Mexico is one of the countries most affected by climate change due to its 11 thousand miles of coastline and the fact that it straddles the Tropic of Cancer. Following the release of Part I of the International Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the Mexican administration rearticulated its commitment to carbon emissions reductions, while calling on the world’s highest emitters to do the same. (El Universal, 9-30-2013)

Mexico has registered more than 38,000 deaths over seven years caused by air pollution. In 2013 alone, concentrations of ozone increased by 23% and particulates less than 10 microns more than doubled, leading diverse civil society organizations to join forces in demanding the Mexican government to update and enforce air pollution standards. (El Occidental, 10-1-2013)

A group of scientists and students at the Mexican National Autonomous University (UNAM) is working on Mexico’s first satellite for measuring air pollution. With support from NASA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the project will measure the plumes of polluting gases emanating from Mexico’s major cities, the source of most of the country’s pollution. The measurements will help policy-makers understand where pollution originates and how it is distributed throughout the country. (Informador, 9-29-2013)

Regional

Central America has the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to become energy self-sufficient, declared Ex-Minister of Energy Ana María Majano at the recent Regional Forum on Energy in Panama. Energy infrastructure and generation at the regional scale would make more efficient use of Central America’s resources, argued Majano, which will be imperative for development in the region. The Interconnected Electricity System of Central American Countries (SIEPAC) currently extends from Guatemala through El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica through to Panama, and so success of any such initiative will depend on the political will and cooperation of each state. (El País, 10-1-2013) 

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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