Climate, Energy and Environment News from Latin America: 10.18 - 10.22.2010


In a New York Times Op-Ed piece this week, Jeffrey Sachs complimented Chile on its successful economic development and political capability, and said it is a burgeoning regional and international leader. (New York Times, 10/20/10)

President Piñera traveled to France this week where he formed a “strategic alliance” with French President Sarkozy which will include assistance in the reconstruction of Chile from the February earthquake, and sending Chileans to study the development of nuclear energy capabilities. (Merco Press, 10/21/10) “ ‘Chile has to prepare itself for the world of nuclear energy...The decision won't be made now, not even during our government. But our government has the obligation to prepare our engineers, scientists and technical workers,’ Pinera said, while on tour in Paris, his first official visit to Europe.” (Dow Jones Newswire, 10/20/10) “The president`s European tour continues this week, with a stop in Germany, where he will meet with German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.” (La Tercera, 10/21/10)

HidroAysén dismissed nearly half of the 1,114 comments received in response to the project’s environmental impact assessment.  Environmental specialists believe this could result in new questions and a possible extension of the process. (El Mercurio, 10/22/10)  HidroAysén began talks with Xstrata Copper, which is developing the Austral Energy hydroelectric project, to partner in building the underwater transmission lines for both projects. (Diario Financiero, 10/20/10)  HidroAysén designated new Aysén Operations Management position to sociologist Michel Moure, who will focus on promoting the company’s long-term agreements on corporate social responsibility. (HidroAysén, 10/20/10) On Thursday, Energy Minister Ricardo Raineri reiterated the importance of developing large-scale power products such as the HidroAysen hydroelectric project and Castilla coal-fired project. (Dow Jones Newswires, 10/21/10)  

Canela Wind Farm, the largest wind farm in the country, broke its own record to produce 1,400 MWh as part of Endesa Chile’s commitment to develop non-conventional renewable energy. (Endesa Chile, 10/19/10)  The Methanex Black Cape Wind Farm opened on Thursday in the Magallanes region, generating 2.5 MW and earning emission reduction credits as a Clean Development Mechanism. (El Mercurio, 10/22/10)

Ricardo Irarrázabel, Assistant Secretary for the Environment, participated in bike ride in Santiago to promote a bicycle commuting campaign. (La Tercera, 10/18/10)

Costa Rica:

ICE and the Ministry of Environment and Energy’s new distributed power generation pilot project allows households, businesses, and industries to produce renewable electricity for consumption and sell surplus power to back to the grid.  The goal of the project is to produce 5 MW of renewable power. (La Nación, 10/18/10)

Costa Rica and India discussed a proposed “joint venture in carbon-neutral agriculture as well as adaptation of Costa Rican technology for the Indian aerospace industry.” (Inside Costa Rica, 10/20/10) Costa Rican foreign minister, René Castro, also held talks with Canadian Secretary of State, Peter Kent, to discuss Canada’s potential investment in renewable energy projects in Costa Rica. (Inside Costa Rica, 10/20/10)

Data from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) showed that Costa Rica now falls below average in the region in terms of percentage of conservation land.  (El Financiero CR, 10/21/10)

Costa Rica saw a surge in bio-fuel cooperative projects to reduce and potentially replace petroleum fuel.  In particular a project based on the jatropha plant has shown that oil from the seed can be converted to diesel with high yields and low production costs. (The Costa Rica News, 10/19/10)


The Mexico City government’s bike rental program, Ecobici, modeled after European cities to reduce car use, faces problems as “roads are still being built and some cycle paths are already impassable.” (Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 10/19/10)  Even though Martha Delgado, Secretary of the Environment for Mexico City, was praised for her work on the Ecobici project, she received severe criticism from PRI and PAN deputies after presenting the administration’s fourth year progress report to the Legislative Assembly. (La Crónica de Hoy, 10/21/10)

Mexico ranked second in the world in terms of deforestation problems.  A study conducted by Tobias Feakin and Duncan Depledge of the United Kingdom stated that climate related issues such as water shortages in the north of the country could present potential migration and security risks. (EFE, 10/19/10) In other rankings, Mexico ranked 11th worldwide in terms of it climate change-causing pollution, surpassing some of the most developed countries.

Biodigesters in the Lagunera region of Coahuila and Durango, will allow for electricity savings of up to 90%.  (Milenio, 10/18/10)

Note: The linked articles and excerpts in this post are provided for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Natural Resources Defense Council.