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Denée Reaves’s Blog

Latin America Green News: green tax in Chile, blue carbon in Costa Rica, transparent processes requested for Cabo Dorado in Mexico

Denée Reaves

Posted April 14, 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 6th-12th, 2014

Chile

A new study by Chile’s Ministry of Energy and the German Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH assessed the potential for non-conventional renewable energy generation and concluded that there are nearly 2,246 GW of potential from the northern Arica region to Chiloé island. Specifically, the study identified 40,452 MW of wind energy potential, 1,640,128 MW in solar PV, 552,871 MW in CSP and 12,472 in minihydro power potential. The geographical range of the study coincides with the extension of Chile’s two main grids, the SIC and the SING. (Revista Electricidad 4/7/2014)

The Metropolitan region around Santiago welcomed a new, top-of-the-line solar plant on April 9, installed by GasAndes to provide 20% of the company’s electricity consumption. With an installed capacity of 25 KW, the photovoltaic panels are being hailed as the “most powerful and trustworthy available on the market today.” The general manager of GasAndes, Raúl Montalva, said that the project demonstrates, “a concrete and efficient way to implement new alternative non-conventional renewable energy...” (El Dinamo 4/7/2014)

The director of AES Gener, one of the largest energy companies in Chile, testified before the Chamber of Deputies that the “green tax” that Parliament is considering would increase the cost of electricity in the country by 22%. In his testimony, the executive stated that fossil fuel power plants would have to pass the cost of this carbon tax onto their clients, big industrial clients as well as individuals and families. As a result, the typical electric bill would raise 10% by 2020 and 22% a few years after that. (La Segunda 4/10/2014)

Costa Rica

Sports fishermen in Costa Rica may soon be able to mitigate their emissions under a Blue Carbon Program promoted by the Costa Rican Fishing Federation (Fecop) and Marina Pez Vela.  The program and emission inventory be verified and accredited by local institutions. To participate in the program, people will make online donations that will be invested in Fishing Zoning Plan for the Costa Rican Pacific. (El Financiero 04/08/2014) 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) recently issued an alert about coral bleaching in the East Tropical Pacific Ocean, an area that includes Costa Rica’s Coco Island. According to experts from the University of Costa Rica, the warmer ocean temperatures could affect corals closer to the coast as well. Temperatures that are above the ideal range for corals have been recorded along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. (CR Hoy 04/08/2014)

Mexico

Local and national organizations as well as residents of Cabo Pulmo in Baja California Sur are calling for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to ensure that the Environmental Impact Assessment process for the proposed Cabo Dorado project is transparent and open for comment from the public. Cabo Dorado, proposed adjacent to the Cabo Pulmo National Park, would consist of nine hotels, thousands of multifamily residences, golf courses and could utilize up to 4.8 million cubic metrics of water, a resource already scarce in the region.  Many fear that such a large development, which will draw a multitude of people to the area, will put a strain on the park and local natural resources. Mexican luchador, El Hijo del Santo, has also voiced concern about the impact of Cabo Dorado on the Cabo Pulmo marine reserve.  (La Jornada 4/10/2014, AM 4/10/2014,)

The Autonomous University of Querétaro (UAQ) has employed the help of local citizens in capturing the migratory route of the monarch butterfly. This species of butterfly, which migrates throughout North America, has been decreasing severely in numbers, and UAQ along with other scientists feel that developing a map of the butterfly’s migratory path will be an integral tool in preserving the species, and utilizing citizens will significantly curtail the costs associated with the map’s creation. Since the inception of this project, UAQ has received 251 positive sightings of the monarch migration and have used these along with mathematical formulas to develop a valid map of the monarch migration through Querétaro. This map will be added to others to have a complete picture of the migration.  (Investigación y Desarrollo 4/8/2014)

Mexico and France signed a Cooperation Agreement for the Development of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, during the French president’s last trip to Mexico. Along with this agreement, the two presidents also signed 42 others focusing on academics, health, sustainable development, finance, aeronautics, and energy. France will be aiding Mexico in developing their nuclear energy potential, and both countries will be cooperating to develop wind, solar and fossil fuel energy sources and technologies as well. Currently Mexico has one nuclear power plant, Laguna Verde, which generates 610,000 MW by two electric generating units of 805 MW each. (El Financero 4/10/2014)

While presenting an award to a metro biologist at a Volkswagen auto assembly plant in Mexico, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Juan José Guerra Abud declared that due to the recent energy reform, Mexico will be developing vehicles that use clean fuels in order to increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Guerra Abud also congratulated the municipality of Puebla for planting ten million trees in the state with the help of the state government. (Milenio 4/7/2014)

 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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