Vanishing wilderness: 10 percent of Nature gone in 25 years

I admit it is hard to keep your head cool when you read such news, and this despite having discovered the power of positive psychology. To a new study the world has lost ten percent of its wilderness in as little as 25 tiny years… 

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Good news from Brazil, and no it is not the Olympics

Last week the Brazilian Senate ratified the Paris Agreement, making it one step closer to make this major climate change mitigation effort a reality. Brazil is the sixth world biggest carbon emitter and the biggest to ratify to date. 

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Uruguay to invest $2.6 billion in Wind energy

The drought that is affecting Brazil so much is also undermining Uruguay and its large dependance on hydro energy ( 74 percent of local electricity ). The current alternative to hydro is oil. So the country will invest $2.6 billion ( 2.3 billion euros ) in wind energy in the next couple of years.

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Peru to have 60 percent renewables by 2025

Currently in Lima, Peru, is taking place the 20th Conference of the Parties. It is an important event as the talks on our future climate are taking place there. In margin of these, the host country made some announcements.

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Chile is preparing a carbon tax

It seems taxing carbon is becoming a really popular idea as Chile is the latest to consider it as Reuters reported recently. The country would be the first to do so in South America and the second in Latin America after Mexico. As Climate Progress reports, this tax would concern only utilities and thermal plants … Read more

Latin America moves forward on renewable energy

Latin America seen from spaceWhile I write mostly about the United States, Europe or China, a lot is happening in other regions of the world. An example of this is the growth of renewable energy sources in Latin America.

Lately, I have come across a few large projects in this region. In Chile, a 300 MW solar project worth $600 million (430 million euros) was just approved by the local government as PV Tech reported in late February.

In January 2014 alone, the country added no less than 186.3 MW of renewable energy capacity, leading the total capacity to 1,298 MW. As one can see, the market is booming there.

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The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid

Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid Book coverWhile reading Richard Branson’s latest book, Screw Business As Usual, I came across an interesting concept : the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. The term refers to the basic goods and services to sell to the poorest people.

To a report from the World Resources Institute quoted in Branson’s book,  the Bottom of the Pyramid in Asia and the Middle East represent no less than 2.8 Billion people, with a total income of  $3.47 Trillion.

Counting in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe, this amounts to a $5 Trillion market which can be addressed ethycally by companies.

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Buenos Aires switches to LED lights, saves money

Buenos Aires, ArgentinaThe capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires, have switched its 125,000 streetlights to LED. This will cut energy consumption by half and will last five times longer. With 13 million inhabitants, it is the second largest city in South America.

To TreeHugger : ” That’s just one city. It’s estimated that if cities around the world made a switch to LED tech like Buenos Aires, savings would add up to €130 billion ($180 billion) in reduced energy costs each year.

” It would also prevent 670 million tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere each year. Not bad for streetlamps! ” This just shows that energy efficiency works.

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Deforestation in Brazil bumps up

Even if there have been many good news on the environmental fronts in the past few months, there are still some bad ones. While deforestation of the Amazon rainforest had been drastically reduced since 2004, it seems it increased last year. As Treehugger reports : “According to the Brazilian forest monitoring agency which uses satellite … Read more

Brazilian forestry code changes get vetoed

As deforestation in the Brazilian part of the Amazon rainforest was hitting its lowest levels in over two decades, some special interests had introduced to the local Congress some law to change that.

Luckily, environmental organizations has been campaigning to avoid those catastrophic changes. Celebrities joined in too… Even more fortunately, the Brazilian President – Dilma Rousseff – vetoed those changes.

As Yale Environment 360 stated :” The presidential veto comes just two weeks before global leaders descend on Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20.”

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Chevron to pay $18 billion to Ecuador

To Reuters : ” An Ecuadorean appeals court on Tuesday upheld a ruling that Chevron Corp should pay $18 billion in damages to plaintiffs who accused the U.S. oil giant of polluting the Amazon jungle and damaging their health. “

” A judge ordered Chevron to pay $8.6 billion in environmental damages last February, but the amount was more than doubled to about $18 billion because Chevron failed to make a public apology as required by the original ruling. “

This brings further development to the story I ran in 2010 where I noted that during three decades Texaco operated hundreds of oil wells without taking any notice of environmental issues.

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The much lesser known Amazon oil spill

The French daily Le Figaro publishes a translation of the best New York Times articles each Friday. This enabled me to come accross another huge oil spill, this time located in Ecuador, South America.

During three decades Texaco operated more than 300 oil wells without taking any notice of environmental issues. As a result the company polluted the air, the soil and the water in a massive way. As the NYT puts it :

The quest for oil is, by its nature, colossally destructive. And the giant oil companies, when left to their own devices, will treat even the most magnificent of nature’s wonders like a sewer.”

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