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South America Environment, Science &Technology, and Health Newsletter Edition 92

by Stoner, Larissa A — last modified Feb 05, 2013 03:09 AM
Contributors: USAID
The information contained was gathered from news sources from across the region, and the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of the Regional Environmental HUB Office or of our constituent posts. Addressees interested in sharing any ESTH-related events of USG interest are welcome to do so.
Agriculture: Brazil shuts down Cargill's Amazon port; Colombia: Farm Bill Criticized As Land Grab and Anti-Green; Brazil Soy Industry Prepares For Biodiesel War with Argentina; Brazil's Lula Allows Genetically Modified Imports. Water Issues: Controversial Brazil River Plan Allowed; Chile: Lack of Water Threatens Nature Reserve in Region I; WWF accuses Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay of degradation in the Plata Basin. Latin America: Greater Effort Needed Against Desertification. Forests: Brazil's New Forestry Law Draws Praise; Argentina Considers Year-Long Logging Ban; Brazil: Use the Internet to Protect Forests Wildlife: “Guaranteed Hunts” in Argentina Drawing Fire. Protected Areas: Chile: Ice Fields Could Become Biggest Natural Heritage Site. Science & Technology: Brazil Will Use Advanced System of Remote Surveillance. Pollution: Brazil’s Petrobras to Appeal Huge Oil-Spill Award. Climate Change: Bolivia: El Niño Has Bigger Bite with Climate Change. Bolivia: Reaping the Rewards of the Clean Development Mechanism. Energy: Venezuela’s Chávez Pledges “Energy Revolution”; Brazilian Catholic Church Joins Critics of Ethanol Fuel Boom; Uruguay Seeks to Change the Image of Atomic Energy; Argentina to Produce Biodiesel from Algae; Brazil Biofuel Update, March 2007. General: Ecuador: Environmentalists Optimistic About Correa; Study Urges Regional Approach to Development; Brazil Needs Foreign Money to Preserve the Amazon; Details of Al Gore’s Upcoming Trip to Chile Revealed; New Environment Ministry for Chile

Edition #92. Also attached is a calendar of up-coming ESTH events across the Western Hemisphere.

Agriculture

Brazil shuts down Cargill's Amazon port

 

MAR. 25, 2007 - Authorities shut down an important deep-water Amazon River port owned by Cargill Inc. on March 24, saying the huge U.S. agribusiness firm failed to provide an environmental impact statement required by law.  The move by federal police and environmental agents to close Cargill's controversial soy export terminal was a major victory for environmentalists in Santarem, a sleepy jungle city about 1,250 miles northwest of Sao Paulo. It came after a ruling by Judge Souza Prudente, police and the Agencia Estado news service said.  Environmentalists who point to soy farming, logging and cattle ranching as the primary threats facing the Amazon praised the closure, calling it a milestone in attempts to push the government to more effectively police a region where lawlessness often prevails.

 

Source – Miami Herald http://www.miamiherald.com

 

Colombia: Farm Bill Criticized As Land Grab and Anti-Green

 

MAR. 2007 - A Colombian bill designed to spur agricultural exports has come under attack by critics who say it will legalize an unjust and environmentally damaging transfer of land from small-scale farmers to monocrop growers linked to right-wing paramilitary groups.  At issue is the Rural Development Law, approved by the Colombian Senate in December and now before the lower house, or Chamber of Deputies.  Proponents say the bill is needed to boost cash-crop and forest-product exports, calling it the country’s most important farm bill of the past half century.  But environmental groups charge the bill would leave illegal, right-wing paramilitary groups with vast tracts of land they have taken by force from Indian, Afro-Colombian and peasant farm communities over the last 20 years of the country’s civil war. Aside from being confiscatory, they say, the legislation would encourage expansion of unsustainable African palm, timber and other large-scale monoculture farming operations that in the past have taken a heavy toll on Colombia’s environment.  Opponents warn the rural-development bill also would dramatically reduce government subsidies, marketing support and technical assistance for those producing foodstuffs for the domestic market.  In the process, they say, family farmers and indigenous communities using agro-forestry, subsistence farming and other sustainable farming methods will be squeezed and, in many cases, wiped out.

 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Brazil Soy Industry Prepares For Biodiesel War with Argentina

 

MAR. 26, 2007 - Brazil's major soyoil producers are preparing for a fight against Argentina over the biodiesel market, hoping Brasilia can convince Buenos Aires that Argentine tax policies are bad for Brazil's biodiesel program.  Brazil soy oil is the number one ingredient used in making biodiesel.  Soy oil companies think Argentina's cheaper costs will cut them out of the market, especially the export markets.  In early February, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner signed an executive order to create a national biofuel law designed to make Argentina a biodiesel exporter. Kirchner put a low 5% export tax on biofuels, compared with a 24% export tax on soyoil. That makes it more beneficial for soyoil companies to sell their soyoil to fuel refineries for export than it does to export pure soybean oil for human consumption, Lovatelli said.  The measure also provides tax breaks for companies investing in the sector.  Whether the industry can convince Brasilia to go after Argentina, however, will be known in the months ahead.  Given the Argentine strategy to become a biofuels exporter, it is unlikely Brasilia negotiators will get very far with Kirchner.

 

Source - CattleNetwork http://www.cattlenetwork.com

 

Brazil's Lula Allows Genetically Modified Imports

 

MAR. 22, 2007- Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva eased rules on importing genetically modified agricultural organisms, official news agency Agencia Brasil said.

The presidential green light given on March 21 could most immediately benefit Germany's Bayer, which has sought approval for a variety of genetically modified corn.  It came after a bare majority of the 27 members of the National Technical Biosecurity Commission gave their backing for the commercialization of just one transgenic crop.  But at the same time Lula vetoed the commercialization of genetically modified cotton, which has already been planted illicitly in 2006 on some 150,000 hectares (370,000 acres) in Brazil.  Despite political opposition, transgenic soybeans were provisionally approved in Brazil in 2004 and approval has been renewed annually. The government relinquished oversight after many farmers were found to have been planting genetically modified crops in southern Brazil.

 

Source – YahooNews http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070323/sc_afp/brazilfarmbiotech_070323003310

 

 

Water Issues

Controversial Brazil River Plan Allowed

MAR. 23, 2007 - Brazil's environmental agency on March 23 approved a US$2 billion project to shift the course of a major river in Brazil, a plan bitterly opposed by environmentalists.  The Sao Francisco River project is meant to benefit some 12 million poor people by allowing large sections of the country's arid northeast to be irrigated, but environmentalists say it could dry up the country's fourth largest river for part of the year.  Congress must now approve funding for the project in Cabrodo, about 1,100 miles northeast of Rio de Janeiro.  Under the plan, a new channel would be created for the 1,600-mile-long Sao Francisco River.  But critics say the diversion would speed the river's flow toward the ocean, possibly causing it to dry up for periods of time. "The license issued in a rush by Ibama shows they want to push the project through," said Luiz Claudio Mandela of Caritas, a Roman Catholic group opposing the project. "For us, it is clear this project is not viable.  "Roman Catholic Bishop Luiz Flavio Cappio held an 11-day hunger strike in 2005 in an attempt to stop the project.

 

Source – Chron http://www.chron.com

 

Chile: Lack of Water Threatens Nature Reserve In Region I

MAR. 21, 2007 - Government authorities reported last week that the 102,000 hectare Pampa del Tamarugal nature reserve in far northern Chile is in serious jeopardy because of a water shortage.  The unique nature reserve has 25,000 hectares forested with tamarugo and algarrobo trees, which have been able to survive in hostile desert conditions because of ample underground aquifers. Annual rainfall in the area is 0.5 millimeters.  Studies by the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) and the General Water Directorate (DGA) confirm that groundwater levels subsided radically since 1997, and authorities attribute the declining water reserves to “illegal water wells” built by growing populations nearby and by rogue mining companies.  DGA general director Rodrigo Weisner said the problem has been growing since 1984, but grew more acute in 1997 when large number of illegal wells were drilled near the nature reserve.

 

Source – Santiago Times

WWF accuses Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay of degradation in the Plata Basin

 

MAR. 20, 2007 – According to a press report in Brazilian daily O Estado de Sao Paulo, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has accused the governments of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay of planning a waterway in the Plata Basin system without analyzing its eventual environmental impact. According to a WWF report, the Plata Basin is one of the world’s 10 most important endangered fresh water sources. The report says that hydroelectric plants and the use of the system as a waterway are the major threats to the basin.

 

Source – Public Affairs US Embassy Brasilia.  See also BBC report http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6468451.stm

 

Latin America: Greater Effort Needed Against Desertification

 

MAR. 19, 2007 - Non-governmental organizations have called for more effective action to halt desertification in Latin America.  That was the main result of the 5th session of the application exam committee of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, held Mar. 12-21 in Buenos Aires with representatives from some 170 countries.  The Latin American governments have made "great efforts" towards progress, said Patricia Maldonado, representative in Argentina of the International Network of NGOs on Desertification.  But 10 years since the Convention entered into force, government reports show that actions have proved "insufficient", she told Tierramérica.  "We must review the strategies for intervention, allow greater participation by the affected communities, and decentralize national policies," recommends Maldonado, who heads the Llastay Environmental Association in Argentina.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2007/0317/iecobreves.shtml

 

Forests

Brazil's New Forestry Law Draws Praise

 

MAR. 23, 2007- New rules that allow sustainable logging of national forests in the threatened Amazon drew guarded praise from both environmentalists and loggers.  President Luiz Inacio da Silva recently issued rules to carry out the law, passed last year by Congress, which opens national forests to use by private companies and citizens.  Officials are supposed to create a registry of all public lands in the Amazon region and the National Forestry Service will then determine which areas can be opened up for concessions.  Loggers will have to present a plan for sustainable management that preserves the forest while allowing commercial profit from it.  "We see more positive points than negative points in the decree," Marcelo Marquesini, a senior campaigner for Greenpeace, said Thursday. "Success or failure of this public policy will depend on monitoring and enforcement. If there is no enforcement it will not work."  "It's a good move if everybody follows the law, but if some people are logging responsibly and others aren't, it won't work. I can't compete with those who log without a management plan they can sell wood for a fifth of the price that I do," said Marcelo Sobral, a logger from the southern state of Curitiba with holdings in the Amazon rain forest.

 

Source – Miami Herald http://www.miamiherald.com/795/story/50416.html

 

Argentina Considers Year-Long Logging Ban

 

MAR. 2007 - Argentine lawmakers are weighing legislation that would impose a one-year nationwide ban on commercial timber cutting, a highly controversial proposal that has caused friction within President Nestor Kirchner’s ruling Front for Victory party.  Following months of sharp debate within the governing party, the Chamber of Deputies—the lower house of Argentina’s Congress—voted on March 14 in favor of the proposal.  It was unclear, however, when the Senate would take up the bill, which reflects growing concern here about deforestation as fast-expanding crop farming operations consume woodlands in northern provinces.  Under the moratorium bill, Argentine provinces would be required to classify and zone forestland in categories of low, medium and high levels of environmental concern.  And once timber cutting is allowed to resume, they must prepare environmental-impact assessments for projects that would have significant environmental, aesthetic or social effects.  Deforestation worries here have grown since 2003, when officials reported that the country’s forests cover a total of 82 million acres (33 million hectares), less than a third of the 262 million acres (106 million hectares) estimated in an inventory completed in 1914.

 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Brazil: Use the Internet to Protect Forests

 

MAR. 19, 2007 - The Network of Forest Peoples set up antennas and equipment to connect eight isolated Brazilian communities and 30 offices to the Internet with the aim of making them agents of environmental defense. The network won a commitment from the government to extend connectivity to another 150 indigenous, Afro-Brazilian and river communities in the Brazilian interior.  Set up in 2003, the Network only accepts communities approved in an evaluation during a seminar in which they prove "clear and strong cultural identity", Joao Augusto Fortes, a co-promoter of the endeavor, told Tierramérica.  Once connected, these communities receive training and then can quickly report land invasions, deforestation and other crimes against them and the environment. They also can disseminate their culture, develop eco-tourism and export their "sustainable products", said Fortes.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2007/0317/iecobreves.shtml

Wildlife

“Guaranteed Hunts” in Argentina Drawing Fire

 

MAR. 2007 - Argentine wildlife-conservation groups are denouncing the proliferation of so-called guaranteed hunts, in which wild animals are captured and then freed at a set time and place to ensure they’ll be tracked down by the hunters who have paid to kill them.   Critics of the practice say organizers of the hunts are catering to a growing international clientele attracted to Argentina’s relatively low costs.  They claim the animals, often malnourished and sometimes sedated, include not only the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu), capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) and puma (Felis concolor), which are legal to hunt in Argentina, but also the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and the jaguar (Panthera onca palustris), which are not.

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Protected Areas

Chile: Ice Fields Could Become Biggest Natural Heritage Site

MAR. 23, 2007 - The Chilean government will nominate six parks and reserves in the extreme south of the country, including Torres del Paine, for the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list in February 2008.  The total area covers 7.2 million hectares, and it is unequalled for sheer size in this category.  The tentative name for the listing is Patagonian Ice Fields of Chile, Andrés Meza, head of protected areas and the environment for the government National Forest Corporation (CONAF), which is responsible for the initiative, told IPS.  The complete site includes ice fields, glaciers and snow-capped peaks in the Laguna San Rafael, Bernardo O'Higgins and Torres del Paine national parks and the Las Guaitecas, Katalalixar and Alacalufes national reserves, located in the Aysen and Magallanes regions, over 2,000 kilometers south of Santiago. The Patagonian Ice Fields, if listed, would be the first Chilean site on the natural heritage list.

Source – IPS http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=37067

 

Science & Technology

Brazil Will Use Advanced System of Remote Surveillance

 

MAR. 21, 2007 - Project Maracatu, being developed by the National Institute of Space Research (INPE) will construct biodegradable nano-robots and micro-satellites to monitor the Amazon. The project will provide the installation in orbit over the region of 30 to 40 micro-satellites weighing between 3 and 4 kilos and thousands of nano-robots with sensors of several types. The Maracatu project will use 100% domestic technology.

Source - Gazeta Mercantil (hard copy)

 

Pollution

Brazil’s Petrobras to Appeal Huge Oil-Spill Award

 

MAR. 2007 - Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras plans to appeal a February state court ruling that it pay fishermen indemnities totaling R$1.1 billion (US$520 million) in the wake of a major January 2000 oil spill, calling the decision “patently unfair.”  The decision concerned a spill in which a pipeline linking a Petrobras refinery just outside Rio de Janeiro to an island storage terminal ruptured near the point where it enters Rio’s storied Guanabara Bay.  The 340,000 gallons (1.3 million liters) of released refinery oil caused extensive fish kills and polluted mangroves that are crucial to the local marine food chain.  In its February ruling, a Rio de Janeiro state court based the indemnity amount on an average loss of R$754 (US$356) in monthly income, corrected for inflation, over a 10-year period for a total of 12,180 fishermen.  Ten years of wages were targeted on the assumption that the spill’s impacts on marine life would be felt for a decade.  Petrobras contends that the only fishermen who ought to qualify for indemnities are the 3,339 who were registered at the time of the accident as working in Guanabara Bay—not the 12,180 who prevailed in last month’s ruling.

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Climate Change

Bolivia: El Niño Has Bigger Bite with Climate Change

 

MAR. 17, 2007 - Bolivia is entering its fourth month of onslaught from El Niño, the climate phenomenon that has grown stronger, and threatens to return with even greater force. According to the forecasts of the National Weather Service and of the scientific community of international agencies, Bolivia's under-secretariat for Civil Defense announced earlier this month the end of El Niño, the warm phase of what is known as the Southern Oscillation.
But heavy rains, overflowing rivers and hurricane-force winds have not ended in the northeast, while drought, hail and frost persist in the west of this land-locked South American nation that is home to all types of climates, from tropical in the plains to polar in the Andes Mountains. Experts consulted by Tierramérica agreed that the Andean region should prepare for more frequent and intense visits from El Niño as a result of global climate change.  The greatest threat is to the northern department of Pando, which faces heavy flooding from rains in neighboring Peru, says the under-secretariat.  Although this is rainy season across all of Bolivia, the period that began in December is the most severe since 1998.

 

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2007/0317/iacentos.shtml

 

Bolivia: Reaping the Rewards of the Clean Development Mechanism

 

MAR. 15, 2007 – Bolivia hopes to mitigate the potential impact of climate change by taking advantage of the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism, which allows industrialized countries committed to greenhouse gas reductions to invest in emission reduction projects in developing countries.  According to government officials, Bolivia seeks to position itself as a key project host, in hopes of attracting investment and generating revenue from the sale of resulting certified emission reduction credits.  While an admirable goal, regulatory uncertainty has slowed its implementation.

 

Source – LA PAZ 715

 

Energy

Venezuela’s Chávez Pledges “Energy Revolution”

 

MAR. 2007 - Think of Venezuela and energy conservation probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. The world’s fifth largest petroleum producer is not only a fossil-fuel heavyweight, it also outpaces all other Latin American countries in per-capita energy consumption, Venezuelan officials acknowledge.  Small wonder, then, that environmentalists were caught off guard when President Hugo Chávez last November announced an “energy revolution” whose principal goals are to replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving fluorescent ones in six million homes; pipe natural gas to homes; and boost the role of solar and wind systems in electricity generation.  On March 12, the government announced it had completed the light bulb substitution in 4.2 million homes—putting the program over two-thirds of the way to its six-million-home goal.  The government also has installed around 90 solar panels—of a projected 2007 total of over 1,000—for small-scale energy generation in isolated communities, schools and health clinics that previously lacked electricity. And it has organized, financed and assisted neighborhoods in the installation of residential natural-gas lines.

 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Brazilian Catholic Church Joins Critics of Ethanol Fuel Boom

 

MAR. 22, 2007 - The Roman Catholic Church joined a chorus of ethanol critics, saying the current boom in alcohol-based fuel might not be the blessing Brazil's president says it is.

Brazil, the world's No. 1 ethanol exporter and its largest Catholic country, is thriving on rising interest and investments in ethanol, which powers eight of every 10 new Brazilian cars.  Countries as diverse as Japan and Italy are negotiating projects to increase production of ethanol, made from sugar cane in Brazil.  But the Brazilian Bishops Conference, the Church's top body in Brazil, said the government first should study the social and environmental effect of stepping up production.

 

Source – IHT http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/03/22/business/LA-FIN-Brazil-Ethanol-Church.php

 

Uruguay Seeks to Change the Image of Atomic Energy

 

MAR. 16, 2007 – The Government of Uruguay has begun a public campaign to change the negative image the population has of the use of atomic energy.  As part of the campaign, the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mines organized a meeting on the “Role of Public Information on Nuclear Technology.”  During the meeting, held on March 9, Alejandro Nader highlighted the importance of keeping the population informed on the uses of this type of energy.  Although Uruguay does not have nuclear reactors, Nader added that the government thinks it is important for the population to be able to have an educated opinion on the subject.

 

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=1&item=News&itemid=3485&language=2&CFID=8415648&CFTOKEN=28813030

 

Argentina to Produce Biodiesel from Algae

 

MAR. 10, 2007 – Argentine business entity Oil Fox has announced it will produce, at a commercial level, biodiesel from the oil extracted from marine algae.  Oil Fox singed an agreement with the government of Chubut (Argentine Patagonia) to “plant” four species of marine algae in the province.  The production of the oil is estimated to be ready in six months and three months later biodiesel will be produced.  Approximately US$19 million will be invested in the project to produce an estimated 240 thousand tons of ‘marine’ biodiesel per year.

 

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=1&item=News&itemid=3472&language=2&CFID=8415648&CFTOKEN=28813030

 

Brazil Biofuel Update, March 2007

 

MAR. 26, 2007 - Please pay note to Cable BRASILIA 512 for an update on biofuel-related news in Brazil.  This months headlines include: 1) Mexico Seeks Strategic Partnership With Brazilian Ethanol Producers; 2)European Union Also Wants Commercial Agreement; 3) Brazil Signs Biofuel Agreement With Jamaica; 4) Ethanol Record Production; 5) Buses In Sao Paulo To Run On 30% Biodiesel Mix; 6) Using Ethanol To Generate Electricity; 7) Brazil May Produce Ethanol From Sweet Potatoes.

 

General

Ecuador: Environmentalists Optimistic About Correa

 

MAR. 2007 - Two months into the term of populist Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, green groups are hoping the environment will at last become a first-tier government priority in this country, while business leaders worry regulations will tighten.  Correa, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, took office on Jan. 15, promising his policies will “make the human being a higher priority than capital.”  The inaugural speech heartened environmental advocates, as did some of Correa’s choices for key posts.  Those picks include Maria Fernanda Espinosa, a former World Conservation Union (IUCN) official, as foreign minister; consultant Alberto Acosta, an outspoken critic of the oil and mineral industries, as minister of energy and mines; and academician Fander Falconi, who has advocated a moratorium on new oil-drilling concessions, as planning secretary.   Correa has further stoked environmentalists’ expectations by saying he would review the impacts of private oil concessions.  For his part, Acosta says if pollution impacts are found to outweigh the benefits of the concessions, he would “not rule out a petroleum moratorium.”  Moratorium or no, the Correa government does appear more interested than previous administrations in developing renewable power sources.  In one of its first energy moves, it created the Alternative Energy Secretariat for the purpose of promoting clean power such as solar, wind and geothermal energy as well as such new fuels as biodiesel and ethanol.   Not all Correa’s early moves have pleased green groups.  His choice for environment minister, Ana Alban Mora, drew scathing reviews from environmentalists for her service in the same post under Correa’s predecessor, Alfredo Palacio.

 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

 

Study Urges Regional Approach to Development

Mar 22, 2007 - The World Bank, which lends billions of dollars for development projects in poor nations, should put more funding into multi-country initiatives such as roads and joint electric grids, which have shown greater benefits to borrowing nations, according to the Bank's internal monitor.  "A stronger Bank role, if underpinned by a shift to a more strategic approach, could help countries realize this increasing potential of regional cooperation," says an analysis released March 22nd by the Bank's Independent Evaluation Group (IEG).  It urged the Bank to establish more effective regional program strategies and integrate them into its Country Assistance Strategies, prescriptions for economic liberalization that borrowing nations agree to in return for loans. "The potential contribution of regional programs is likely to grow as the cross-border dimensions of health, infrastructure, environment, and trade facilitation take on ever-increasing significance," says the report.
Cooperation across borders is also increasingly helping to control the spread of communicable diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS, and helping to manage the 60 percent of the world's freshwater that derives from shared river systems, says the IEG.

Source – IPS http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=37045

 

Brazil Needs Foreign Money to Preserve the Amazon

 

MAR. 20, 2007 – A press report in Brazilian daily O Estado de S. Paulo highlights that the money for forest preservation invested by the nine Brazilian states that comprise the “Legal Amazon” region is less than the help received from foreign nations and NGOs.  Europe, the U.S. and Japan devoted about US$ 52 million to preserve the Amazon forest, while the Brazilian states spent US$ 45 million on preservation projects.  Story said that Amazonas Governor Eduardo Braga (PMDB), recently spent two weeks in Washington, New York, and London seeking new investors interested in applying funds to help local communities, which would receive aid in exchange for protecting the forest.

 

Source – Public Affairs US Embassy Brasilia

Details of Al Gore’s Upcoming Trip to Chile Revealed

MAR. 19, 2007 - Former U.S. Vice President and newly turned global-warming celebrity Al Gore will visit Chile on May 11 to promote the fight against global warming.  But Gore’s stay will be brief. After his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” took home an Oscar, the speaker and activist’s schedule has been so packed that the former VP will remain in the country for only hours.  For the few hours he spends in Chile, Gore will take home around US$200,000, the fee he is charging companies that sponsored his visit, including the environmental NGO Oikos, Chilevisíon, and the El Mercurio news daily.  All carbon emissions generated from the trip will also be tracked, and a donation will be made to make the trip “carbon neutral.”  Gore’s donation will go towards a project in Chile. One suggested option was a donation to help reforest Chile’s Easter Island (Rapi Nui).

 

Source – Santiago Times (no link)

New Environment Ministry for Chile

 

MAR. 16, 2007 - Chile is establishing a new Environment Ministry that should elevate the importance of ecological issues within the cabinet.  President Michelle Bachelet signed Law 20.173 on March 15 that promotes the National Environment Commission (CONAMA) to ministerial level. She asserted that the new ministry will tighten the framework for environmental evaluations that are required before certain operations such as manufacturing can be established. The pro-business government has also promised that the ministry will speed up the process of securing such evaluations. Chile has measures in place to combat pollution in the capital Santiago and launched an integrated transport system to help ease the pressure on the city. The Transantiago system is experiencing serious problems, however, provoking fierce protests that resulted in the shooting of 15-year old in the early hours of yesterday morning.

 

Source - Global Insight Daily Analysis

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