Latin America Green News This Week: 6/30 - 7/6/2016

Chile’s cities plagued by pollution, region establishes climate bonds market, Dominican Republic training educators on climate change

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June 30th – July 6th, 2016

Climate Change


As if dealing with the impacts of climate change alone wasn’t challenge enough, president of the Southern Border Commission of the Senate, Humberto Mayans Canapal, warned that soon Mexico will have to prepare for a large influx of immigrants from Central America fleeing from the devastating natural disasters plaguing the region. For years scientists have emphasized the particular vulnerability of the region to climate change and now the region is beginning to feel the effects. Mayans said the country needs to prepare for the increase in refugees by ensuring government institutions and social service providers have sufficient funding. (El Universal 7/1/2016)


With assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Chilean Navy has installed a five kilometer-deep buoy in the port of Valparaiso that will help scientist observe and study climate change by assessing atmospheric and oceanic interactions. An additional 23 smaller buoys made of biodegradable cardboard will measure water temperatures and eventually disintegrate in the ocean. Captain Carlos Gonzalez said “the installation of these buoys by the NOAA is of utmost importance to study climate change and understand how offshore winds impact coastal areas.” (T13 7/3/2016)


The Dominican Republic is hoping to form good future citizens by investing in programs that will help train some 3,000 teachers on climate change. The idea is to create awareness in children while they are young so they can make good decisions and be prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change in the future. Omar Ramirez Tejeda, Executive Director of the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanisms, made the announcement this week saying, "we have to take action, not only at school but also at home, closing the valve, and turning off electrical equipment that is not being used at that time, because everything has an intimate relationship with nature." He explained the program will be implemented as part of a global project from the UN called the United Nations Learning Center. (Diario Libre 7/1/2016)


Pacific Alliance ministers from Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru have established the Integrated Latin American Market (MILA) for climate bonds. The goal is to create a market mechanism that can be easily used to offset greenhouse gas emissions, specifically CO2. The two main challenges of launching the bonds program are creating an entity that can certify CO2 reductions and establishing a methodology that can accurately measure CO2 emissions from one country to the other. According to the Environmental Minister of Colombia, Luis Gilberto Murillo, in order to move forward with the plan it will be necessary for member nations to advance climate change legislation in order to establish a common market across borders. (Pulso 7/11/2016)


Climate change, overfishing, and contamination from deforestation are the likely causes behind the drop in fishing numbers along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua. Local fishermen are finding it increasingly challenging to reach shoals that are now located further out at sea. Artisanal fisherman Willy Cash says it has been over two years since they have seen a good catch. He commented that it used to take three to four hours to catch up to 100 pounds of quality fish and now it takes more than 10 hours to catch the same amount. The fishing industry located in Bluefields has also reported a significant decrease in the capture and storage of fish and shrimp in the past three years. According to the executive director of the Chamber of Fisheries of Nicaragua (CAPENIC), Armando Seguro, the main problem plaguing the industry is climate change, which has forced fish to relocate to deeper waters where the temperatures are cooler. (La Prensa 7/5/2016)




Santiago, Chile, declared the 12th environmental pre-emergency of the year in response to high levels of air pollution. As part of the pre-emergency, the government restricted the circulation of 20 percent of vehicles, prohibited the use of wood stoves and advised the city to suspend outdoor sports activity. This year, the World Health Organization report listed 23 Chilean cities with some of the highest levels of air pollution, concluding that Chile is one of Latin America’s most polluted countries. Santiago, in particular, is nestled in a valley between hills and the Andes valley, where air pollution is easily trapped in the wintertime. When contamination reaches unsafe levels, the poor air quality can have acute health effects for both children and the elderly. This includes asthma attacks, obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory infectious diseases, all of which can increase the mortality rate for individuals suffering from cardiovascular disease. (El Ciudadano 7/2/2016)




In a move that might make everyone feel better about drinking beer, Heineken beer production in Mexico aims to source two-thirds of its energy from renewables by 2020. The decision was a response to Mexico’s 2014 energy reform legislation, which said that 35 percent of the country’s energy needs to come from clean energy sources by 2024. In 2015, Heineken invested nearly US$7.5 million  to improve the process and practice of its six plants. Another US$4 million were spent on social responsibility. The company’s strategy is based on six pillars: water conservation, carbon emissions reduction, responsible supply, intelligent consumption, health and safety, and community. By 2020, the company aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent in the production chain, 50 percent in the cooling process and 20 percent in its distribution. (Forbes 7/6/2016)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is set to invest US$60 million in geothermal energy development in Nicaragua. The representative of IDB in Nicaragua, Carlos Melo, emphasized that the region has great potential for this type of renewable energy expansion, but because the costs of identifying sources are so high, it usually takes longer to launch geothermal projects than other types of energy. There are two companies in Nicaragua that currently generate geothermal energy: Motombo Power Company (MPC), which produced 171 GW per hour in 2015, and Polaris Energy Nicaragua, S.A. (PENSA), which produced 434 GW per hour in the same year. In 2007, 25 percent of the energy consumed in Nicaragua was from renewable sources, and today that number has risen to 60 percent. (El Nuevo Diario 7/5/2016)               

This week's blog was completed with the help of contributions from Andrea Becerra.

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

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