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Latin America is as diverse in geography, wildlife, culture and politics as any region on Earth. The United States' largest trading partner, Latin America consists of fast-growing economies that face pressing challenges, including protecting natural resources, meeting development goals and supplying enough energy, food and services for expanding populations.

NRDC works with partners on the ground in Latin American countries to help develop sustainable solutions to these challenges. Based on NRDC's long-standing expertise, we collaborate with our allies to fight climate change, protect the area's remarkable natural resources and create low-carbon communities.

wind turbines in Chile

Building a Low-Carbon Future

Latin American countries can fight global climate change and ensure a resilient, low-carbon future by promoting clean energy, creating more sustainable transportation and reducing forest loss.

Promoting Clean Energy

NRDC partners with local and international experts in Chile to demonstrate that the country has real alternatives to dirty coal, large hydro and other unsustainable energy sources. With data, in-depth analysis and policy recommendations, we are helping to create a roadmap for deploying renewables like solar, wind and geothermal, and boosting energy efficiency. As Chile builds a low-carbon, green energy future and moves away from yesterday's unsustainable energy choices, it can be a model for other nations.

Creating Better Transportation Solutions

Black carbon, also known as soot, is the second most powerful contributor to climate change. A quarter of the world's black carbon emissions come from burning dirty diesel fuels, directly impacting local environments, air quality and human health. Fortunately, there is a clear solution to this problem. By reducing the sulfur content of diesel to ultra-low levels, we can significantly clean up those emissions. In fact, combining ultra-low sulfur fuels with particulate soot filters reduces black carbon emissions by 90 to 95 percent. NRDC is working with local and international partners in Mexico to pass nationwide regulations requiring ultra-low sulfur diesel, tougher emissions standards and more efficient vehicles.

deforestation in Peru

Halting Deforestation

Latin America has more forest cover than any other region in the world. The Amazon rainforest is the single largest stretch of tropical rainforest on Earth, and it plays a critical role in moderating the planet's climate. Yet unsustainable practices are pushing back the forest frontier. NRDC's work to help stem the tide of deforestation started in 2006, when we first collaborated with local partners to stop illegal logging in Peru's forests. We made sure that the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement included strong forestry requirements. We also worked with our partners to ensure that the Lacey Act, a U.S. law prohibiting the import of illegally sourced goods, included wood and wood products. We continue to see that the Lacey Act is implemented and that U.S. companies do not drive deforestation in Latin America.

Defending Latin America's Wild Places

Latin America's forests, mountain ranges and coastlines are home to some of the world's most spectacular landscapes and wildlife. From Patagonia's rugged peaks to Baja California's teeming coastal waters, NRDC works with local communities and organizations, and with the support of our members and online activists, to protect the region's unique natural heritage.

Patagonia

Protecting Patagonia's Wildlands

In 2006 NRDC joined a coalition of Chilean and international organizations working to protect Patagonia from the threat of a massive hydroelectric proposal called HidroAysén. Now expected to cost more than $10 billion, HidroAysén plans to build five mega-dams on two of the region's wildest rivers and a 1,200-kilometer long transmission line for carrying the electricity far north to the demand. With our partners, we have developed a multifaceted international campaign that has grown into the largest environmental battle in Chile's history.

Safeguarding Marine Habitat in Mexico

NRDC has worked for years to defend critical marine and coastal ecosystems in Mexico's Baja California Peninsula and Gulf of California. Since successfully helping to defend the peninsula's Laguna San Ignacio gray whale nursery from a giant industrial salt-producing factory, NRDC has remained committed to working with local communities to ensure a long-term sanctuary for the whales. We also collaborate with local partners to defend the critically important coral reefs of Cabo Pulmo National Park, one of the world's most robust marine reserves. Partnering with a coalition of Mexican groups and citizens, we help protect the park and the community that depends on its natural resources from massive tourism and real estate threats.

Fostering Sustainable Communities and Environmental Governance

By advocating for improved environmental decision-making and governance in Latin America, we strive to uphold the fundamental right of all people and communities to have a true voice in the decisions that affect their environment.

We also advocate for solutions that will help create more environmentally sustainable and healthy communities in what is one of the world's most highly urbanized regions. Promoting energy efficiency in Latin American' cities benefits people and the environment. By making cleaner energy and transportation choices, Latin American countries can protect public health and improve quality of life for its people.

More about Latin America from:

NRDC.org

Fact Sheets Reports and Issue Briefs

Learn more about our previous work in Latin America »

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Chile Says No to Giant Dam, Opens Door to Clean Energy Future
posted by Peter Lehner, 6/12/14
The Baker River in Patagonia, ice-blue and gentle as a summer breeze in some parts, raging white in ...
A Major Victory in Patagonia: Chilean Government Rejects HidroAysén's Dam Project
posted by Amanda Maxwell, 6/10/14
Chile’s government – under the leadership of President Bachelet – made a landmark ...
Project threatening Cabo Pulmo National Park attempts tactical retreat
posted by Carolina Herrera, 5/30/14
Recognizing that their proposal is deeply flawed, the investors behind the Cabo Dorado project tried ...
Experts highlight threats to communities and environment from Cabo Dorado
posted by Carolina Herrera, 5/19/14
The environmental impact statement presented for Cabo Dorado, the massive coastal tourism and real-estate ...
Deficiencies in Cabo Dorado environmental impact assessment brought to light
posted by Carolina Herrera, 5/8/14
Heeding the calls of civil society and concerned citizens, Mexico’s environmental authority (Semarnat) ...

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