Climate, Energy and Environment News from Latin America: 11.15 - 11.19.2010


Approximately 18 agencies raised concerns over technical aspects of HidroAysén’s latest Environmental Impact Assessment.  Although a decision on the EIA isn’t due until the end of the year, officials indicated that another round of review would be necessary. (Radio Santa Maria, 11/17/10) A national march to protest against HidroAysén’s hydroelectric project is scheduled for November 20th.  (Ecosistemas, 11/18/10)

Chile’s Supreme Court ruled to block the construction of the proposed 2,300 MW Castilla coal-fired power plant in the northern Atacama region.  The project’s original approval was based on a change made to the environmental impact assessment by the former Health Ministry secretary, Raul Martinez. (La Prensa, 11/15/10)

The Chilean government estimated that it will grant over 50 concessions for geothermal exploration this year.  So far 16 concessions have been awarded and are in the final stages of completion. (Diario Financiero, 11/15/10). 

Government officials are working through legal obstacles that would allow the generation of small scale hydroelectric plants to provide potentially up to 1,400 MW of energy for irrigation. (El Mercurio, 11/18/10)

A study conducted by the Electric Utilities Association, universities and foundations estimated that Chile will need to invest 21 million by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5-8 percent.  However, energy savings from mitigation measures are estimated at $6 billion. (La Tercera, 11/18/10)

Starting November 20th, the government will launch a six month energy savings campaign.  The campaign’s slogan is “turn off the switch.” (Estrategia, 11/19/10)  Also unveiled at the Energy Efficiency Expo is the news that Chile is the first Latin American country to implement an energy certification system for housing. (Ministerio de Energía, 11/19/10)

Costa Rica:

The environmental attorney, Mauricio Castro defended all permits and procedures followed to authorize the operation of the Crucitas open pit gold mine.  National concern had been raised over the felling of 196 almond trees which Castro addressed in court this week. (La Nación, 11/17/10)

Plans for a smart grid for Costa Rican to control and monitor energy consumption were presented this week at the Central American and Panamanian Convention of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. (El Financiero CR, 11/18/10)

Foreign trade minister, Anabel González returned from her visit to Spain where she met with 80 potential investors interested in Costa Rica.  (Inside Costa Rica, 11/18/10)

A biodiesel tour is offered in San Carlos by the construction material company, Agregados H&M.  800 people have attended the tour since opening in May. (El Financiero CR, 11/16/10)


This week at the World Summit on Local and Regional Leaders in Mexico City, three-thousand mayors signed an agreement to have their cities reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The document will be presented at the upcoming COP-16 negotiations in Cancún. (La Crónica de Hoy, 11/17/10)  Mayor of Mexico City and host of the summit, Marcelo Ebrard, also stated the city’s goal to reduce gas emissions by 14% a year. (El Universal , 11/19/10)

The Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) in the House of Representatives, proposed the establishment of a vehicle emissions tax on individuals to discourage the use of high emission vehicles. (CFE, 11/15/10)  The government also discussed establishing a vehicle emissions standard to be implemented in 2011.  Transportation is the greatest source of Mexico’s carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for 21% of the national total with 4-5% annual growth. (Teorema Ambiental, 11/18/10)

Local deputy, José Alberto Couttolenc Güemez presented an initiative for a Climate Change Bill for Mexico City to the Federal District Legislative Assembly.  The proposed bill establishes a Green Fund to help finance the mitigation of greenhouse gases. (Agencias, 11/16/10)

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.