Climate, Energy and Environment News from Latin America: 10.4 - 10.8.2010


In HidroAysén news this week: the company announces their decision to submerge transmission lines underwater for the 160-kilometer stretch between Puerto Montt and Chaiten. The cost of transmission line will be $3.8 billon which is 20% more than the cost of the plant and seven times per kilometer more than the cost of terrestrial option. (El Mercurio, 10/6/10)  Executive Vice President Daniel Fernández expects to release HidroAysén’s environmental impact assessment of the transmission lines by the third quarter of 2011.  (La Tercera, 10/7/10)  The Vice President has also agreed to participate in a public debate about the questions and concerns of the region’s citizens regarding the project. (El Divisadero, 10/5/10)  HidroAysén’s $400 million environmental mitigation plan includes developing infrastructure that can also be utilized for other economic activities and a 11, 560 hectares conservation area. (El Mercurio, 10/4/10)  “But despite millions of dollar poured into top-flight international and national PR firms to sell the project Chile’s public, opinion polls show that most Chileans are still not convinced that the  project is what it is cranked up to be.” (El Mercurio, 10/7/10) 

Last week Energía Austral released the Addendum to their environmental impact assessment for the Central Cuervo hydroelectric project. (El Divisadero, 10/2/10)

A blog in El Mercurio covered UK Climate Change Negotiator John Ashton’s visit to Chile last week.  He urged the country to create a strategic long term economic plan to help fight climate change.  (El Mercurio, 10/4/10)

A new $4.3 billion public housing project in Santiago provides sustainable homes with solar panels and thermally insulated walls to the former residents of the Vista Hermosa area who lost their homes to a fire in 2006. (El Mercurio, 10/7/10)

Minister of Energy, Ricardo Raineri, announced that he will delay implementing new emissions regulations on thermoelectric plants in order to assure that companies and plants will be able to meet the regulations on time and without disrupting electricity supply to the population.

On Thursday, President Piñera presented his plans to create three new Protected Areas as part of the government’s development of new environmental institutions:  The Salas and Gomez Islands, due to their marine biodiversity; Mount San Lorenzo in the Northern Patagonia Ice Field, which is the highest peak in the Patagonian Andes, and the Tatio Geyser in the Atacama Desert.

Costa Rica:

The government of Costa Rica is preparing a methodology to quantify costs due to climate change. The National Commission on Energy estimates that Costa Rica has already lost $550 million over the past ten years due to climactic disruptions. (El Financiero CR, 10/6/10)

Costa Rican authorities are on the hunt for Spanish investments in renewable energy, clean technologies, and development opportunities in tourism infrastructure as part of their goal to attract 9 billion in foreign investment between 2010-2014. (La Nación, 10/4/10)

Proctor and Gamble reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability initiatives in Costa Rica to meet the country’s 2021 carbon neutrality goal. (El Financiero CR, 10/6/10)

Consumers International launched a new campaign in Britain exposing the high environmental and social cost of pineapple production in Costa Rica (The Guardian 10/1/10).  Costa Rica is the source of three quarters of pineapples sold in Europe and the campaign  and documentary video have been widely reported about in Costa Rican press. Costa Rica’s pineapple producers deny the charges about their overuse of agrochemicals and low wages for workers. (El Financiero CR, 10/5/10)  Dole released a statement addressing specific allegations against their company. (Fruitnet, 10/5/10)

This week marked the start of the trial to determine whether the permits issued to the Canadian firm building La Crucitas mine met all legal requirements. (La Nación, 10/3/10)


A sustainable transportation conference was announced this week which will to bring together experts from 20 different countries to address growing concerns over the rapid growth of urban development in Mexico City and the lack of transportation infrastructure to support it. (Milenio Diario, 10/5/10) 

A Volvo 7700 Hybrid [bus] also recently arrived in Mexico, where it will be tested in Mexico City for a dedicated service running through the historic cent[er] to connect two BRT lines using hybrids exclusively. It will also feature at a conference on sustainable transports in Mexico City and, in particular, at the major COP 16 climate conference in Cancun.” (The Wall Street Journal, 10/5/10)

The Payment for Environmental Services program in Mexico is gaining ground as it has benefited more than 5, 400 communal farms, communities, and owners in an area of 2.7 million hectares over the past seven years. The development of local mechanisms to increase user involvement and long-term financing schemes for biodiversity conservation are some of the greatest achievements of the program. (Planeta Azul, 10/4/10)

Global Green Solutions Inc. (GGRN) and Zero Energy International LLC (ZEI) have teamed to develop renewable energy projects in Mexico. The companies will initially focus on applications that generate industrial steam and electrical power from waste biomass for the cane sugar and tequila industries.” (The Wall Street Journal, 10/7/10)

Climate change exacerbates the number of pests which biologists say could threaten Mexico’s food security. (El Universal, 10/5/10)

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.