Latin America Climate, Energy and Environment News: 9/26 - 9/30/2011


 The government will audit all the infrastructure conditions of the Central Inter-connected Electrical System (SIC) so that it can calculate the total investment needed for its up-grading. (Electricidad 9/ 28/11)

Thirteen Chilean cities exceed WHO air quality standards. A new study by the World Health Organization includes data from nearly 1,100 cities across 91 countries, including capital cities and cities with more than 100,000 residents, and concludes that more than thirteen cities in Chile exceed the safe standards for air quality. (Santiago Times 9/27/2011)

A new report about Chile’s Salmon fisheries by industry experts revealed that, despite the major steps taken since the 2007 outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anemia to improve industry practices, more improvements need to be made.  In particular, the report recommends that Chilean salmon be raised in enclosed inland pens in order to contain the chemicals and other waste, rather than in enclosure pens in lakes, rivers and estuaries where those materials can flow into and affect other ecosystems.  (Santiago Times 9/28/2011)

Costa Rica

Eight power plants will feed the country clean energy by 2013. If the projects move forward in a timely matter, by 2013 there will be enough clean energy by opening eight small plants to provide the country with an additional 235 MW to the already existing capacity. (La Nacion, 9/26/2011)

Costa Rican scientists are trying to find energy sources to substitute oil-based energy. Costa Rican scientist gathered this week at the National Conference on “Alternative Energy Sources” at the University of Costa Rica, to display and discuss the latest discoveries on energy efficiency, welfare and bio-architecture in the tropic, agricultural waste and energy, and the development of hot water systems from solar energy in Costa Rica. (El Pais, 9/22/2011)

The Costa Rican government has lowered its ambitions for an airport proposed to be built between Sierpe and Palmar de Osa in Costa Rica’ southern zone. The decision comes at time when environmental impacts on the nearby wetland are being discussed and local community support is uncertain.  Representatives from the tourism sector also have reservations about the project. (El Financiero, 02/10/2011)

Only 18% of Costa Rica’s public institutions have submitted an energy efficiency plan. The deadline to submit their energy efficiency plan expired on August 22nd. Up to this date only 30 institutions out of 165 provided their plans, which are being analyzed by the Ministry of Environment and Energy. (El Financiero, 9/27/09/2011)

The Diquis Hydroelectric plant proposal lacks a strategy and response to communities. An opinion piece in Costa Rica Hoy looks at a process initiated by local communities from the Terraba basin, downriver from the possible location of the Diquis dam, to gather information and consolidate their position regarding the project and the possible impacts for the Canton de Osa. (Costa Rica Hoy, 9/30/2011)

U.S. supports Costa Rica for new renewable energy. Costa Rica has just signed a 1.5 million dollar agreement with the U.S. for technical assistance to be invested in concrete actions intended for mitigation and climate change adaptation. ( La Nacion, 9/29/2011)


The Mexican government received 70 million dollars from the U.S. government to finance new green projects like the Center for Green Economy and Sustainable Development to be created next November to provide  information to companies trading carbon bonds. (La Jornada, 9/27/2011).

Reduction in Climate Change budget spurs concerns among NGOs. The Mexican Financing Group, which  includes sixteen NGOs  warned the government about insufficient funds assigned to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. The NGOs submitted their own budget proposal this past week under the House of Deputies.  (La Jornada 9/27/2011)

Mexico started various renewable energy projects, including solar, wind, and geothermal plants. There are currently 120 approved permits for renewable energy and 26 of them specifically for wind farms. (Proyecto Reve, 9/28/2011)

Adequate land-use planning is key to facing climate change.  According to the sub-secretary of the Mexican Department of Environment, Sandra Herrera Flores, appropriate land planning management is necessary to reach sustainability and a green economy in Mexico.  (Semarnat Press Release 9/ 29/2011)


Energy and climate change will dominate relationships between U.S. and Latin America.  These two challenges represent an opportunity for the U.S. to improve trade relations with Latin America, a region where there are a lot of promising renewable projects.  Various U.S. agencies are already working on climate related issues in the region and the Interamerican Bank has made climate change projects a priority. However, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean notes that the U.S. still lacks a clear strategic vision for the region.  (Intercambio Climático 9/16/2011)

A new report due in March 2012 will look at the status and quality of public policies on climate change and development in Latin America. The focus of the initial report will be on agriculture, which despite being a major contributor to the region’s green house gas emissions has not been a focus of national and regional adaptation plans and mitigation programs.  The report aims to improve public policies on climate change, strengthen the capacity of the political leaders and civil society and exchange regional information.  (Intercambio Climático 9/19/2011) 

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.