Latin America Climate, Energy and Environment News: Week of 2.7-2.11.11


The Mexican tourist industry that stretches along the Riviera Maya and Cancun pollutes the largest system of underwater caves in the world and impacts on the nearby coral reef, according to a new study reported. Pharmaceuticals, cocaine residue, shampoo, toothpaste, pesticides and chemical wastes that slide from the roads were found in the vast network of rivers and underground aquifers in the south of the resort city of Cancun. Fishing above the limits, disease and climate change have also contributed to a loss of up to 50% of the corals since 1990. La Nacion (02/07/11)

Mexico could be the first country in Latin America to have an atlas of climate change risk for 2012, informed the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada.
There is a risk map with specific attention to certain sectors and variables such as climate change; it can develop protocols for preventive action during and after catastrophic weather events, stated the Undersecretary for Rural Development Secretariat Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, Ignacio Rivera Rodríguez. El Economista (02/11/11)

With the replacement of 30 million conventional light bulbs saving lamps, Mexico aims to reduce 7.5 million tons of carbon in 10 years. This was cited by Dr. Fernando Tudela Abad, Undersecretary of Planning and Environmental Policy of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), introducing the national progress of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), an international initiative that takes out by developing countries to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases.
The project called Care for Mexico, he explained, began its first phase in the state of Puebla, where they have changed a million units saving. "This initiative means that we can implement medium-term strategies in different parts of the country for the benefit of the environment ", explained the federal official. Informador (02/09/11)

Costa RIca

An editorial in La Nación views favorably a plan by ARESEP, the public service regulator, to consider a introducing competition into the distribution of fuels.  Under this plan, ARESEP would set a maximum fuel price based on the costs of the Costa Rican petroleum refinery (RECOPE).  Fuel  distributors would free  to offer fuel below this ceiling. The plan has already faced criticism from industry.(La Nacion, 2/10?2011)

A decree that would allow digital delimitation of the maritime terrestrial zone is pending before the Chinchilla Administration.  The decree would be part of  efforts to standardize  land use registry and would allow improved land use planning (El Financiero, 2/9/2011).

The Costa Rican government has included the 306-MW Reventazon hydro project  in its 2011-14 national development plan.  The project is propsed by ICE and aims to start operations in 2016 (Inside Costa Rica2/11/2011).


The National Committee for Defense of Flora and Fauna filed a petition with the comptroller’s office arguing that the National Forestry Corporation illegally redrew the boundaries to Laguna San Rafael National Park in order to accommodate the proposed massive hydro-electric project, HidroAysén.  (The Santiago Times, 2.10.11).

The severely dry summer has dried up Chile’s hydroelectric power, prompting President Piñera and Minister of Energy and Mining Golborne to consider a variety of solutions to avoid having to ration electricity use among the Chileans. (Diario Financiero 2.9.11).  It also prompted Minister Golborne to announce the need for a new national energy policy, which will be a priority issue for the Ministry of Energy in 2011.   (The Santiago Times, 2.9.11)

According to Reuters, the summer drought makes renewable energy projects such as wind, seem more attractive and cost-competitive than conventional projects. (Reuters Africa 10.2.11).  One example is the newly announced Talinay Wind Farm, which will begin operating in early 2012 with an initial installed capacity of 120 megawatts.  Upon completion, the park will contribute 500 megawatts to the main grid. (Estrategia, 2.10.11)

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.