Latin America has made bold pledges to boost renewable energies in the near future, but is failing to incorporate local communities along the way. This oversight will hamper its ability to foster sustainable change, argues Rebecca Bertram.
Last year, Brazil made international headlines for the devastating forest fires in the Amazon and their impact on the world’s vital oxygen lungs. Many governments – especially from Europe – were quick to condemn the deforestation of the Amazon that had been increasing rapidly since far-right President Bolsonaro took office in January 2019. Rebecca Bertram takes a closer look.
The transportation sector in Latin America is still largely based on fossil fuels and responsible for 35 percent of the continent’s carbon emissions. Greening public transportation systems is an issue predominantly for a few wealthier cities. But many remain highly inefficient, insecure and in the hands of powerful transportation mafia-like groups, which make them a difficult subject for reform. Yet the main hurdle for developing a sustainable transportation concept in many Latin American countries is the disconnect between national and municipal policies on transportation and energy policy. Rebecca Bertram reports
Mexico’s government has had a bad corona run. The pandemic hit the country when the economy was already shrinking. But instead of profiting from the resulting drop in electricity demand of 9 percent in order to speed up the expansion of renewables and the much needed modernization of his country’s energy sector, President Lopez Obrador – widely referred to as AMLO – is instead sticking to the country’s outdated and failing CO2-heavy energy system. Rebecca Bertram takes a look.
The coronavirus hit the poor Central American country Honduras at the worst possible time during these hot and dry summer months. March and April in particular see almost no rainfall at all and rising temperatures turn many parts of the country into a breeding place for forest fires and dangerous fumes. This is particular ominous at the time of a deadly virus that attacks the lungs and reduces the oxygen intake of its victims. Rebecca Bertram reports
For climate activists, the coronavirus pandemic has held some positive news with regards to its short term effects. As a result of the economic standstill in large parts of the world, global carbon emissions decreased by 20 percent by the end of March compared to the previous year. But as pressure is building up to get the economies going again, they must also fear that once this global health crisis has waned political and economic activity will return to business as usual, with the global climate agenda losing out against the urgency of rebuilding growth with the help of old industries. Rebecca Bertram takes a look at the possible sustainable future.
Venezuela has been facing political deadlock since its controversial President Maduro first came to power in 2013 following the death of his predecessor Chávez. International media reports have highlighted the crisis by pointing to the country’s hyperinflation, government pressure and shortages of food and medicine. These have indeed had a devastating effect on the country’s population, and since 2015, an estimated 4 million people have fled the country. Rebecca Bertram reports
Uruguay lies between Argentina and Brazil on the Atlantic Ocean and is home to about 3.5 million people. But this small country has made it to the top 5 in wind and solar energy producers worldwide. Rebecca Bertram reports
Latin America has a long and bloody history of extractivism. The rivalry over natural resources, such as sugar, copper and oil has for many years pitted large multinational corporations – usually backed by state authorities – against local communities, often indigenous groups. It is not difficult to guess who won most of these struggles. That is why it is so newsworthy that an oil drilling project in the Amazon was recently abandoned due to indigenous protests. Rebecca Bertram reports
Four years after world leaders came together on the Paris Climate Agreement – and an increase of 4 percent in global carbon emissions later –, the COP25 in Madrid failed to reach what it was set out to do: reach an agreement on international carbon markets, a mechanism intended to make it easier for many countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The COP25 shows yet again how divided the world remains on climate change. Meanwhile global temperatures keep rising, the scientific prognosis is as unequivocal as ever, and a growing number of people are urging their governments to act. Rebecca Bertram reports