The Americas establish climate change network, Central America offers first green bond, Brazilian dam project halted
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Representatives from more than 20 countries in the Americas pledged to establish a Network on Climate Change during a ParlAmericas meeting in Panama this week. Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia, were among the countries who signed on in an effort to exchange good practices aimed at mitigating the environmental and socio-economic effects caused by climate change in the region. ParlAmericas is a an independent network composed of the national legislatures of 35 states in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean that channels conversations on key issues concerning the region. During a panel at the meeting, Mexican Senator Marcela Guerra pressed the need to focus on climate change mitigation calling it an “urgent” need that threatens the 25 percent of global biodiversity present in the region. Meanwhile, United Nations Environment Programme Director, Erik Solheim, said halting deforestation, regulating transportation, and achieving renewable energy systems are some of the major challenges facing Latin America in the coming decades. (La Estrella 8/8/2016)
Bolivia is being slammed by the worst drought it's faced in 25 years. Minister of Urban Development, Cesar Cocarico, said rising global temperatures are to blame for the phenomenon. 141 of 339 municipalities across the country are being affected by extreme heat and low precipitation. The drought has increased forest fires setting ablaze some 700 hectares of forest near Tunari National Park. And the economic consequences of the drought are putting a strain on food production, with an estimated US$90 million of profit loss in the agricultural sector and an additional US$120 million loss in the cattle industry. Earlier this month, President Evo Morales announced an initial budget of US$ 6.89 million to address drought-related problems including drilling wells. (La Informacion 8/7/2016)
At the Rio Olympics opening ceremony in Brazil, the environment played a protagonist role. The spectacle included maps and graphics showing the earth’s rapid temperature increase, drastic melting of Antarctic ice sheets, and steady rising seas around the world. It also made reference to the country’s rich biodiversity and vast forests with a visual performance including life sized paper trees. According to the artist who sculpted the cauldron which holds the Olympic flame, the small size of the flame was intentional and is meant to represent the need for countries to reduce their emission of toxic gases. (La Vanguardia 8/6/2016)
Plans to build what would have been the sixth-largest hydroelectric dam in the world have been halted by Brazilian authorities due to concern of its potential impact on the wildlife and indigenous communities of the surrounding area. Brazil’s environmental protection agency rescinded the development permit saying the environmental impact study submitted failed to present enough evidence to judge its social and ecological impacts. Activist who oppose the project say the dam would have flooded a 376 sq km piece of Amazon rainforest home to scores of species and indigenous peoples. The Munduruku Indians whose 12,000 member community resides within the project’s impact zone would have been forced to move out of their ancestral land. Arnaldo Kabá Munduruku, general chief Munduruku, said of the decision “We Munduruku people are very happy with the news. This is very important for us. Now we will continue to fight against other dams in our river.” (The Guardian 8/5/2016)
#ICYM: Tuesday was International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Here are 3 things to know about Indigenous Peoples and climate change.
Last month, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) offered its first Green Bond ever. The bonds were sold to individual Japanese investors in South African Rand (ZAR) for a value of US$72.9 million. This instance marks the first time a Central American issuer sells a Green Bond in Japan. The loans carry a four year tenor, meaning they must be paid off in the span of four years. Executive President of CABEI DR. Nick Rischbieth said “Green Bonds give Japanese investors an opportunity to support CABEI and Central America in the implementation of programs and projects contributing to energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy infrastructure aiming for climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives in the Central American region”. So far, CABEI has participated in more than 220 projects with total investments approved for US$5.3 billion in in energy-related loans, including renewables and infrastructure. (Noticias Terra 8/9/2016)
Interested in learning more about Green Bonds and how they help finance clean energy projects? See here!
The Paiche, a species of fish found in the Amazon River, is under threat of extinction due to inadequate protection and overfishing. At an average of three meters long, the Paiche is the largest freshwater fish in the world and is widely considered a dining delicacy. A lack of management and high culinary demand have the left the fish extremely vulnerable to extinction. Fishermen are so determined to catch them that they have begun using techniques such as chemical bait which are producing unintended consequences in other smaller species. Deforestation and mining have also played a role in degrading the surrounding ecosystem, exacerbating the situation. Experts opine that at this point, there is little hope of saving the fish from extinction. (La Republica 8/9/2016)