Latin America Green News: 09/17 - 09/21/2018

Coral Reef in Coiba Island, Panama
Credit: Photo via Flickr, Chris "Chrigel" Karrer

THIS WEEK: Latin America participates in World Car-Free Day, Mexico, Canada and Chile present on advances of the Declaration on Carbon Pricing in the Americas, New species of coral discovered in Panama

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FEATURE: Latin America participates in World Car-Free Day

On Saturday September 22, cities around the globe participated in World Car-Free Day. Its objective is the promotion of the use of public transportation and sustainable mobility, such as cycling or walking. World Car-Free Day also seeks to raise awareness of the negative effects of the excessive use of vehicles.

In Latin America, 80% of the population lives in cities. The region's fossil fuel consumption is driven primarily by the transportation sector, the source of over a third of its CO2 emissions. Latin America has recently been taking measures to promote sustainable mobility and to invest in clean energy. Below are a few examples of activities in Latin American cities to celebrate World Car-Free Day. 

In Mexico City, the government banned cars in the historic center of the city. Cyclists and pedestrians took advantage to request that this measure be made permanent. In Colombia, the Mayor of Cali stated that he wanted the population to learn more about how to use public transportation and bicycles. In Trujillo, Peru, hundreds took advantage to tour the streets of the Historic Center on foot or by bicycle. 

To read more about World Car-Free Day, check out Erika Moyer's blog here.


The Ministry of Energy and Mines of Peru is working on regulations to promote and facilitate access to electric cars. Part of the plan is to include tax incentives for consumers buying EVs in order to begin promoting them. Currently, no importer in Peru is selling 100 percent electric cars. However, according to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the country is in great condition for electric mobility as Peru has clean energy and produces it in large quantities. The more electric vehicles circulating in the country, the more local electricity will be consumed and therefore less oil will be imported. The Government is also working on the legal framework to introduce electric buses. The first electric bus will start circulating in Lima today. In a few weeks, two more buses will arrive on traditional public transport routes as part of a pilot project. (Peru 21 09/17/2018; La Republica 09/23/2018)

Costa Rica inaugurated the first fast charging station for electric vehicles. The device was installed in the branch office of the National Power and Lighting Company. It is capable of charging 80 percent of a battery in 30 minutes and has both American and Japanese connection standards, compatible with the vehicles that are currently circulating the country. The government plans to install 28 other fast charging stations in the near future. (La Republica  09/11/2018)


During the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), Mexico, Canada and Chile, presented on the advances of the Declaration on Carbon Pricing in the Americas, an initiative announced last December that seeks to promote intraregional carbon markets and standardize their pricing systems. Mexico informed that it will start a pilot carbon market in 2019 and that by 2022 it will fully operational. Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico already apply a carbon tax, while Costa Rica is working on designing its own carbon tax. (Semarnat Press Release 09/18/2018)


A new species of coral has been discovered 60 kilometers (approx. 37 miles) from the Pacific coast of Panama, in the deep reef next to the island of Coiba. The discovered coral has a bright red color and differs from other species by the thickness of its arms and its vivid chromatism. Hector Guzman, a marine ecologist from the Smithsonian Tropical Institute in Panama, has emphasized the possible medical applications of this type of finding. For example, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties are being identified in corals. (Frontera Info 09/17/2018)


Representatives from seven South American countries, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela, joined scientific institutions, NGO’s and civil society in a meeting in Lima to discuss conservation in the Amazon rainforest. Their aim was to disseminate initiatives that have had an impact beyond the jurisdictional limits of protected areas, based on 46 successful examples of management of protected areas. The Amazon has 1,033 protected areas, which means that 33% of its space is protected under some form of conservation. The results of the meeting will be presented later in the third Congress of Protected Areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, to be held in Lima in March 2019. (EFE 09/12/2018)