Latin America Green News: A climate change tower in the Amazon, greener railroad transportation in Mexico, the first 100% solar-powered city in Chile

Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America.

September 13th – September 19th, 2014

Climate Change

A structure taller than the Eiffel Tower is set to be built in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. As an initiative of the Instituto de Investigaciones Amazónicas (INPA) and the Max Planck Institute, the 330-meter tower will be built equipped with instruments to monitor climate change signs, collect data on cloud formation and the absorption of carbon, research the local ecosystem and better understand the meteorology of the area, which is considered one of the biggest tropical forests on the planet. (Clarín, 9/15/14)

More intense rainfall in the Colombian city of Cartagena is drawing attention to the city’s vulnerability in the face of climate change. This week, Cartagena saw 28.8 millimeters of rain fall on Tuesday afternoon. Although this was topped by the cities of Bucaramanga and Quibdó, which received 100 millimeters of rain on the same day, concerns for Cartagena are high due to the city’s low elevation. At just 20 centimeters above sea level, Cartagena could experience the same flooded streets every year in the future if sea levels rise and atmospheric conditions continue to change. (Semana, 9/17/14)

Chile’s Citizens Committee on Climate Change recently delivered a document to the chairman of the Environment Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, Daniel Melo, that that proposes President Bachelet adopt more ambitious action on climate change at the national level. These ten proposals aim to push the country to meet its 2015 climate agreements and to assume a regional leadership on climate issues. The proposals include incorporating human rights and gender in policy decisions, guaranteed access rights to water and sanitation, guaranteeing the preservation of Chilean glaciers, and more. (Publimetro, 9/17/14)


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency, building on recent USTDA bilateral relations with Mexico, awarded a green freight grant to the Mexican Railroad Association (Asociación Mexicana de Ferrocarriles, or AMF). This grant aims to improve Mexican freight trains’ fuel efficiency as well as reduce emissions by promoting the use of cutting-edge freight technology, such as hybrid power trains, as well as “emission control systems and idle reduction technologies.”  (U.S. Trade and Development Agency, 9/15/14)

Renewable Energy

Last week the Chilean town of Esquiña became the first town in the country to have solar energy supply 100 percent of its energy needs to the point that it is completely self-sustaining. Previously, they could only use a diesel generator to provide two hours of electricity a day. The project, funded by an investment of $ 194 million obtained through the Department of Regional Development (Subdere), uses a hybrid photovoltaic plant operated by Nazca Green Energy to provide 28.5 kW total power to 23 houses. This project aligns well with the national government’s plan to have over 75 percent of the additional 4,979 MW of power developed from 2018 and 2030 to come from Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE). Much of the NCRE will come from wind and solar. According to Executive Director of the Chilean Association of Renewable Energies (ACERA), Carlos Finat, explained that according to Law 20/25, at least 45% of new power generated by 2025 must come from NCRE sources. (Diario Norte Chaco 9/11/14|La Tercera 9/17/14)

For more news on the issues we care about visit our Latin America Green News archive or read our other International blogs.