Latin America Green News: Latin America at the Climate Summit, a New Pledge to Stop Deforestation
Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America.
September 20th – September 26th, 2014
At the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, stated that the Mexican government is committed to combatting climate change. Though Mexico is a moderate emitter of greenhouse gasses, Peña Nieto said that the government will assume its responsibility to respond to global climate change. He pointed out that that Mexico's 2012General Law on Climate Change aims to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020. The president also proposed the establishment of an intergovernmental panel to assess how to better prepare for drastic changes in weather. (El Universal 9/23/2014)
Also at the Climate Summit, the vice president of Nicaragua, retired Army General Omar Halleslevens Moses, stated that Nicaragua has drastically expanded its use of renewable energy from 25 percent in 2007 to 52 percent in 2013. He laid out an even more ambitious proposal of 90 percent by 2020, as the threat of climate change is so great that all countries must act boldly to combat this threat. The president of Peru, Ollanta Humala, also spoke at the Summit. Peru expects the COP20 climate summit, to be held in December in Lima, will allow for the creation of the world’s largest climate alliance between developed and developing countries. President Michelle Bachelet of Chile reaffirmed her country’s commitment to reduce emissions 20% by 2020, and said the country would reforest 100,000 hectares of previously degraded land – a number which could be doubled with international support. However, some Chilean groups argue that these announcements do not go far enough to truly be effective in the fight against climate change. (La Prensa Noticias 9/24/2014; La República 9/23/2014; Pulso 9/23/2014; El Dínamo 9/25/2014)
On September 23, representatives from 32 governments, private businesses, and civil society pledged to reduce deforestation by half by 2020 and stop the process completely by 2030. In addition, they have agreed to recover 350 million hectares of degraded land. These measures could drastically reduce carbon emissions, the CO2 equivalent of removing all cars in the world. Many of the countries that signed were from Latin America: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Peru. However, countries with older forests, including Brazil, were not signatories to this "New York Declaration". Still, a number of governments announced financial commitments to support their forest initiatives, such as the Norway’s agreement to pay Peru 300 million dollars to protect the Amazon. (Radio Intereconomía 9/23/2014 | ABC 09/24/2014)
The Chilean government’s plans for its 2030 electricity matrix will see a massive increased contribution in solar and wind. The idea is to generate nearly 5,000 MW, of which 70% will come from solar and wind sources. In addition, the Chilean government has recognized that natural gas is not an optimal choice for lowering fuel costs, reducing the output of a proposed LNG plant from 240 MW to 120. Indeed, project costs for renewables have dropped across the board, making their prices far more competitive for future energy planning. (Diario Financiero 9/24/2014)
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