Latin America Climate, Energy and Environment News: Week of 2.14-2.20.11


The Senate installed an exhibit entitled "Conservation Successes in Mexico", to create awareness about the importance of preserving natural and marine resources in Baja California. The exhibit highlights the organization WiLDCOAST/COSTASALVAjE, the International League of Photographers for Conservation, and the successful conservation of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park in particular. Cabo Pulmo is located in Baja California and home to hundreds of species, and is threatened by the proposed construction of a massive tourism complex. (Canal de La Union 2/18/11)

Mexico and South Korea signed an agreement for cooperation on climate change, based on the visit of Mexican experts to the Centre for Development and Research of Developing Countries on Climate Change, established in South Korea and considered the most advanced on the global level. (Pueblo en Linea 2/16/11)

The Congress approved by 407 votes the opinion that seeks to mitigate the effects of climate change in lighting. It would provide 205 million bulbs replaced by other energy-saving and thus reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). (El Occidental, 2/16/2011)

Costa Rica

In an opinion piece in La Nación, San Jose Mayor Johnny Araya discusses his vision for San Jose, including plans for an electric tram to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions and an urban forest (La Nación, 2/18/2011)

Luis Carlos Araya, the Vice Minister of Air Transportation, stated that a proposed new airport in south Costa Rica would be smaller and less expensive. The airport, proposed near Sierpe and Palmar de Osa would have a runway of 2,400-2,600 meters in length and a terminal for 150 people. The Vice Minister also said that environmental, sound and archaeological studies for the $42 million project would begin this year. (La Nación, 2/20/2011)

The Costa Rican rice company, Tio Pelon has received carbon neutral certification for  mitigating 36,000 tons of CO2 annually  through a series of actions including an intense recycling program, upgrades to its vehicle fleet, reforestation of 3,2000 ha and electric generation using biomass. (La Nación, 2/19/2011)

UNEP’s Green Economy Report set to be released in late February includes a section on Greening the Tourism sector prepared by experts from Costa Rica’s INCAE. (La Nación, 2/18/2011)


The Environmental Authority voted unanimously to approve the contentious Isla Riesgo coal mine in the southern tip of Chile.  Proponents of the US $500 million project, the Angelini and Von Appen groups, expect to extract 5 million tons of coal annually from the mine and supply 30% of the local energy demand, while opponents say the project will be harmful to the environment and public health.  (El Mercurio, 2/16/2011)

The environmental review process for another controversial energy project in Chile, the US$ 4.4 billion coal-fired power plant called Castilla, resumed when authorities decided that the plant should be categorized as a “nuisance, ” rather than “contaminating,” which would have made the project unviable. (La Tercera, 2/18/2011)

As the summer drought continues in Chile, government officials say that three Regions are experiencing an electricity crisis (El Mercurio, 2/18/2011), and experts are questioning Chile’s reliance on hydroelectric power.  (Santiago Times, 2/20/2011)

The thriving colonies of Humboldt and Magellan Penguins are bringing 20,000 tourists a year to the small town of Puñihuil, on Chile’s Chiloé Island. (Domingo, El Mercurio, 2/20/2011)

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.