In the run up to the Madrid-based COP25 international climate talks set to begin in early December, former Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Energy and Environment program, Rebecca Bertram, conducted a series of interviews with Latin American officials and activists. In Part 3 of the series, Bertram meets with Samuel Leiva, environmental policy consultant with the Terram and Heinrich Böll Foundation’s office in Chile.
While the causes of rapid political change in Bolivia are currently being sought within the accusation of the electoral fraud-related presidency of Evo Morales, more and more voices in Latin America denounce to see a connection between the national lithium industry and the changing power structures. Kathrin Meyer evaluates the multiple facets of this conflict.
Costa Rica enjoys widespread international fame for being one of the “greenest” countries on earth. The small Central American state has repeatedly been praised for its outstanding efforts in combating climate change, for its reforestation efforts and for generating almost all its electricity from renewable energy sources. Though the government has adopted an ambitious economic plan to make the country carbon neutral by the middle of the century, “green” policies are sometimes not as rosy as they seem. Rebecca Bertram reports from San José.
While in North America and Europe more hydropower plants are being dismantled than built, many countries in Latin America continue to invest in the controversial renewable energy source. In Colombia, two hydropower plants are to be installed in the Amazon region. Social-ecological and cultural costs of the project are not taken into account. Kathrin Meyer reports about the serious impacts that hydropower could have on the zone.
The energy transition, and especially the increased electrification of transportation sector, moves forward at great speed. Its new center is Latin America’s lithium triangle, where new batteries of electric vehicles will be sourced. But there is an inevitable conflict coming between water availability and mining, says Rebecca Bertram.
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.
On February 13th, the Colombian Constitutional Court decided to abolish local referendums on land use in Colombia. Kathrin Meyer elaborates on the consequences of this development and whether the international community should act.
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.
In addition to fracking’s contribution to climate change, it also violates human rights and disproportionately impacts vulnerable populations. The Alliance Against Fracking in Latin America is fighting against the threat of a fracking boom in their regions. Maximiliano Proaño takes a look.