Latin America Climate, Energy and Environment News: 11/13 - 11/18/2011


At long last, The Council for Electricity Development has announced their final proposals for Chile’s new energy plan. This 200-page proposal will allow the government to compose a new energy matrix to implement over the next 20 years. The plan deemed the following seven sectors to be of crucial importance:  development of hydropower, increased state role in generation and transmission, reconstruction of the Economic Load Dispatch Center (CDEC), emphasis on nuclear power, more competition for electrical distribution, improved electrical transmission markets, and a plan for an “electric highway” to connect southern energy sources to northern cities. (Electricidad 11/17/2011)  Placing hydropower initiatives at the top of their agenda highlights the future use of hydroelectric energy sources in the Aysén region of Southern Chile.  Within the report, experts noted that hydropower from this region is capable of generating 6,000 megawatts of energy. (Diario Financiero 11/17/2011) Greenpeace and other environmental organizations have already declared strong opposition to the fourth tenet of the proposition which highlights proposes increased investments in nuclear energy. Greenpeace called this section of the report deficient and potentially harmful to both society and the environment. (Diario Financiero 11/16/2011). Critics also highlighted the commission’s push to restructure the CDEC. Under this recommendation CDEC would become an autonomous body, completely independent of Chilean government and charged with coordinating the national energy structure.  The government is expected to consider the commission’s report and present a final energy plan by mid-December. (Santiago Times 11/16/2011).

A new study from the University of Andrés Bello found that the Humboldt Penguin could soon be an endangered species if harmful fishing practices continue. The study, based on more than 37 net entanglement cases, found that Humboldts are caught in fishing nets while they dive to catch their pray. But this problem could be more serious than currently forecasted as the findings are based only on dead penguins that have washed ashore, not accounting for those lost at sea. (Diario Financiero 11/15/2011)

Costa Rica

President Chinchilla has created a commission to evaluate and recommend best practices for Costa Rica’s fishing sector. The group, overseen by Chinchilla, will consist of four other people, an oceanographer, and representatives for government institutions, artisanal fisheries, and industry.  While the top priority is evaluating Costa Rica’s fishing practices, the commission will also be charged with examining urban rivers, and recovering wetlands and mangroves. (La Nación 11/16/2011)

A wind farm which will power 11,000 homes was inaugurated by President Chinchilla yesterday in Los Santos. The $36 million dollar project consists of 15 turbines capable of producing 42,000 megawatts of energy. Chinchilla heralded the project for moving the country one step closer to its goal to produce 95% of its energy from renewable resources. (La Nación 11/12/2011)


The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) will not issue any more project permits to the Hansa Urbana for mega resort construction in Cabo Cortez. The project has been the focus of major battles between environmentalists and developers due to its close proximity to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park. This decision came on the heels of a mega meeting between UNESCO, The Convention of Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR) and the International Union for Conservation (IUCN) who met this week to discuss the environmental impact of the pending resort. (El Pais 12/16/2011)

A new program initiated by SEMARNAT will aim to reduce Mexico’s transport emissions. The program includes an evaluation of 8,341 freight and passenger units by 62 companies in hopes of reducing their combined emissions by 796,640 tons of carbon while achieving a fuel savings of 40 percent. (Biosfera 11/16/2011)

The World Bank signed three new emission reduction purchase agreements (ERPA’s) with Bioenergía de Nuevo León to buy 1 million carbon credits. The credits will be put toward lighting projects in Monterrey, Mexico in hopes of generating 70 percent of public lighting from clean biogas produced by the city waste facility.(IISD 11/8/2011)


In a meeting of representatives of the  ALBA countries (Bolivarian Alliance for the People’s of our Americas, Bolivia proposed a tax on financial transactions in order to finance studies on climate change mitigation. Citing a mutual interest in deepening the goals of the Kyoto Protocol, ALBA countries will seek to find a common position in order to strongly represent their member states at the 17th Conference of Parties in Durban later this year and at the Rio+20 conference in Brazil next year. (Prensa Latina 11/17/2011)

This week’s news has been compiled by Amanda Wheat.

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.