Part two of the series on hydrogen (H2) in Latin America surveys the playing field regarding strategies and regulation. Large investments, mega projects and familiar actors dominate the scene, while there is a lack of proposals for a new governance model towards an inclusive socio-ecological transition.
Latin America’s hydrocarbon producers have long considered hydrogen as a good opportunity to render their extractivist models “greener”. There are a range of concerns about blue and grey hydrogen, but even large-scale green hydrogen may have negative social and environmental impacts. This is part one in a series exploring the background of hydrogen and its risks across the region.
The major shale oil and shale gas deposit Vaca Muerta (in English also: Dead Cow) covers a 30,000 square kilometers area located in three Argentinian provinces Neuquén, Mendoza and Rio Negro. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Vaca Muerta has a total of recoverable gas resources of 308 tcf (8.7 billion m3) and a recoverable oil and condensate of 16 billion barrels (2.5 billion liters), making it the world’s second-largest shale gas and oil deposit. A project of great political-economic interest, but also counterparted by the social and environmental impact inherent to the extraction of non-conventional gas and oil by fracking. And even further than that: while the world is turning to decarbonisation, successive Argentine governments have been persisting on succeeding their fossil energy models. Maximiliano Proaño Ugalde reports
Chile is facing important debates for its future. The South American country is immersed in a process to establish a new constitution to manage a multifactorial crisis situation to which the social-environmental crisis contributes heavily. In parallel, the country is committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. Hence, the institutional framework, and the path to reach it, are key. Maximiliano Proaño reports
To face social and environmental problems generated by fossil energies, market-based solutions have emerged to tackle these challenges on a broader scale. These proposals are often also framed as a “green” approach to economic growth. They include e.g. regulatory disincentives for emitting CO2 through a form of carbon pricing or more specifically, emissions trading systems (ETS) and carbon taxes. Although their rationale sounds adequate, their design and implementation are flawed from different points of views and subsequently result in a minimal decrease of CO2 emissions. The following analysis will focus on the main causes of this (political) deficiency with a focus on Latin America. Maximiliano Proaño has the details.
During the last months, Latin America has become the main COVID-19 focus worldwide. In early September, the region concentrated more than 27% of the COVID-19 cases globally and 31% of its deaths. High rates of inequality and poverty, failures in the health system and political instability are the main reasons for this dramatic situation. And it seems to get worse in the upcoming years: according to the UN COVID-19 will result in the worst recession in the region in a century, causing a 9.1% contraction in regional GDP in 2020. Consequently, the number of poor could increase by 45 million (to 230 million in total) and the number of extremely poor by 28 million (to 96 million in total). As political and social instability has already characterized 2019, the risk of a period of human rights violations and a lack of democracy is real. Maximiliano Proaño reports
One widespread objection to renewables is the fact that they need some kind of backup, such as gas or hydro power. But as technologies advance, the possibility of storing electricity generated by renewables seems like not-a-too-distant future. The new concentrated solar power plant in Chile is bringing Latin America to the forefront, says Maximiliano Proaño.
Yasuní National Park in the Ecuadorean Amazon, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, was a beacon of hope for conservationism and environmental governance. But it seems that the government is now planning to allow oil drilling in the Amazon, says Maximiliano Proaño.
Although Bolivia has some of the largest lithium reserves in the world, the country so far has not focused on extraction. Now that lithium is in high demand for electromobility and renewable technologies, Bolivia’s geopolitical role may change. Maximiliano Proaño takes a look.
The 24th Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP24) was meant as a time for countries to review and fix the measures of the Paris Agreement. To have any chance to stay below 1.5 ° C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, countries must commit to drastic greenhouse gas cuts by 2020. Max Proaño takes a look at goals from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Costa Rica.