Climate, Energy and Environment News from Latin America: 11.24 - 12.3.2010


President Calderon led the inauguration of the United Nations Climate Conference in Cancun this week, as he seeks to gain a leading role in climate policy.  Mexico is the only developing country to complete inventories of all of its greenhouse gas emissions.  “[T]he country has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gases from the year 2000 level, which was 644 million tons, by 30 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2050.” (Planeta Azul, 11/29/10)

During the “Dialogue on Water and Climate Change,” a meeting parallel to COP16, the Mexican Institute of Water revealed that according to their research climate change will account for a temperature increase of 4 degrees Celsius in Mexico during this century.  (El Milenio, 12/1/10)

Ministry of Energy, Georgina Kessel Martinez, reported that the advent of Grupo Bimbo’s wind farm in Tehuantepac (Reuters, 12/3/10) will bring the country closer to reaching its goal of having 26% of electricity generation come from clean energy sources by 2012. (La Crónica de Hoy, 12/2/10)

The Institute of Access to Public Information of the Federal District (InfoDF) has stated that the Ministry of Works and Services must conduct an environmental study of the impact of lines 1, 2, and 3 of the Metrobus.  (La Crónica de Hoy, 12/2/10)

Mexico will increase their protected natural areas by 34% during the next ten years in order to meet their commitment for the UN Convention on Biodiversity. (EFE, 12/2/10)


On November 26th, the Environmental Commission in Chile’s Aysén Region asked HidroAysén to respond to almost 200 observations that state agencies filed about HidroAysén’s latest environmental impact assessment, which the company will deliver on April 15, 2011.  (El Divisadero, 11/26/10) This week, employees at one of those agencies, the National Forest Corporation, revealed publicly that the Corporation’s national office altered the technical criticisms that the regional office made in order to facilitate the project’s approval.  (Radio Santa María, 12/1/10)

Twitter comments showed that HidroAysen’s media “terror campaign” has backfired.  The campaign insists that Chileans will be “left in the dark” if the project is not constructed, sparking a negative backlash via the social media network.  (Santiago Times, 11/30/10) Despite national opinion polls that show that more than 57% of the population opposes the large-scale project, the government helped to secure additional water rights for the dam this week, bringing them one step closer to approval.  (La Tercera, 12/2/10)

Coldeco’s Chuquicamata Division will build the first industrial solar plant in South America, scheduled to begin operations in Calama in approximately one year.  The 1MW plant will be the first photovoltaic installation in the world that is not supported by subsidies.  (Coldeco, 12/2/10)

52 Chilean companies will present at Pollutec in France, the world’s largest trade fair on environmental issues.  Chile’s goal at the fair is to attract investment and position itself as a country interested in high environmental standards. (El Mercurio, 12/2/10)

Costa Rica:

Environmentalists celebrated this week as the controversial mining concession granted to the Crucitas open pit gold mine was annulled.  The victory stems from an appeal filed by the Wild Flora and Fauna Preservation Association against the concession granted to the Canadian company, Industrias Infinito.   The court ruled that the environmental studies used to grant the concession were incomplete in turn making the mining contract illegal.  (Tico Times, 11/26/10)  The court ordered an investigation against former Costa Rican president Oscar Arias, the former environment minister Roberto Dobles, and the former director of the National Technical Secretariat of the Environment Ministry (SETENA) Sonia Espinoza, for the signing of permits and the decree which declared the project in the public interest and allowed it to move forward. (El Financiero CR, 11/24/10)  The court also ordered Industrias Infinito to pay for environmental damages made during construction at the site and the National System of Conservation Areas to provide funds to restore the area.  (Inside Costa Rica, 11/26/10)  Arias commented on his Facebook page that he will respect the decision of the court but that it must be the Sala Primera not the Constitutional Court to make the final resolution on the issue. (Inside Costa Rica, 11/27/10)  Juan Carlos Obado, head of public relations at Industrias Infinito stated that the company would appeal the decision. (Associated Press, 11/24/10)

A report released by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) found that 61% of electricity generated in Central America came from renewable sources.  Costa Rica topped the list at a whopping 95.1% of energy generated from renewables.  (Inside Costa Rica, 11/28/10)

Five projects were chosen this week to receive funding from the 260 million donated by the United States in a debt for nature swap.  70 million will be allocated to environmental education and 15 million to the protect the water supply in Buenos Aires de Puntareas.  The Corcovado Foundation will receive 59 million for a rural tourism project in the Osa peninsula.   Finally, Amistad International Park will receive 60 million for a project to plant fruit trees and 56 million to create a biological corridor with Piedras Blancas Park.  (La Nación, 11/29/10)

The United Nations Global Compact, “a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption,” was signed in Costa Rica this week.  14 Costa Rican organizations participated.  (Inside Costa Rica, 12/3/10)

An environmental technology park will be built near Santa Cruz in the Guanacaste region in 2011.  The park will include solid waste disposal, composting, a recovery center for recyclable materials, and a native species nursery.  (El Financiero CR, 11/30/10)

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.