Climate, Energy and Environment News from Latin America: 1.10 - 1.14.2011


Major protests broke out this week in the Magallanes region of Chile after President Piñera announced that natural gas subsidies will be cut by 16.8%. (La Tercera, 1/12/11)  Residents of the cold Patagonian region heavily depend on the subsidy to heat their homes and buildings and were promised by Piñera in November 2010 that subsidies would remain favorable.  Dialogues are under way but two women were killed in the demonstrations. (La Tercera, 1/14/11) 

The Center for Environmental Law of the University of Chile said the country needs a legal framework to regulate the certification of electrical appliances, building codes, and provide incentives to consumers and distributors to be more energy efficient.  Despite the fact that Chile only contributes 0.2% of the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, it is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases per capita in the region. (Estrategia, 1/10/11)

The Ministry of the Environment of Chile prepared for a bill to be sent to Congress by January 26 for the creation of a Service for Biodiversity and Protected Areas. (Diario Financiero, 1/10/11) The owners of private parks are pushing for the development of this service to avoid conflicts with energy producers as occurred  in Punta de Choros last year when two different power plants where approved and then later canceled following demonstrations over their impact on wildlife. (La Tercera, 1/11/10)  

More than 150,000 residents of Santiago have adopted a tree since the start the government’s Urban Forestation Project in June of 2010.  The project aims to plant 17 million trees in Chile during the next eight years. (La Tercera, 1/10/11)

Costa Rica:

An opinion piece in La Nación estimated the cost of the ecosystem services being lost through the artificial pipe work done by the Government of Nicaragua to the north end of the Calero Island in Costa Rican territory which has produced environmental damage at the local, subregional and potentially regional scale. (La Nación, 1/11/11)

A piece  in the University of Costa Rica newspaper, Semanario Universidad , described alleged deficiencies and mismanagement in SETENA including their lack of compliance with standards and political interference in decision making which was recently exposed by the high profile Crucitas Mine case.  (Semanario Universidad, 1/12/11)


President Felipe Calderon appointed Jose Antonio Meade to replace Georgina Kessel as the new Energy Minister for the final two years of his six-year term.  (Upstream Online, 1/10/11)

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation, created to implement the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, released a new report which determined that the major environmental concerns of the subcontinent for the next 20 years include the misuse of energy and water resources as well as biodiversity loss.  The report is available online at  (Milenio, 1/14/11) 

A survey on climate change sponsored by El Universal showed that of 1,000 Mexican participants, 97% responded that they believed in climate change.  A small percentage of answers demonstrated that citizens could be effective agents in combating the problem.  The results show an important development in public environmental consciousness from a decade ago when climate change was only a concern among certain sectors and the existence of the problem was in debate. (El Universal, 1/10/11)

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.