An era of mega-events and mega-projects is coming to a close in Brazil with the Olympic Games to be hosted Aug. 5-21 by Rio de Janeiro. But the country’s taste for massive construction undertakings helped fuel the economic and political crisis that has it in its grip.
Germany has been undergoing an energy transition for over 20 years, and it can offer valuable lessons to Latin America with regard to promoting renewable energy and moving towards a low-carbon economy.
The biggest frustration at the Olympic Games, to be inaugurated in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro on August 5, is the failure to meet environmental sanitation targets and promises in the city’s beaches, rivers, lakes and lagoons.
Immerath, 90 km away from the German city of Cologne, has become a ghost town. The local church bells no longer ring and no children are seen in the streets riding their bicycles. Its former residents have even carried off their dead from its cemetery.
Uruguay is just weeks away from finding out if it will have a chance to stop being totally reliant on oil imports at some point in the future, when the first offshore exploration well in national waters – which set a new world record in terms of water depth - is completed.
Chile, a country with 6,435 km of Pacific Ocean coast line, could find in wave and tidal power a solution to its need to diversify its energy mix.
“There were cases of people who stopped coming to work after receiving their first wages and then came back a few days later to ask if there was more work,” because they were used to casual work in the informal economy, said Ivonne Ginard.
Nearly three years after Nicaragua granted a 50-year concession to the Chinese consortium HKND to build and operate an interoceanic canal, the megaproject has stalled, partly due to a severe drought that threatens the rivers and lake that will form part of the canal.
“I worked in many companies, in construction, fertilisers, chemicals, but none of them were as good as this one,” said Dario Cardozo, who works in the Angostura Agroindustrial Complex (CAIASA) grain reception facility.
A soybean processing plant, Angostura Agroindustrial Complex SA (CAIASA), that does not use fossil fuels and generates practically no waste products from soy reflects Paraguay’s growing industrialization.
The dizzying growth of Añelo, a town in southwest Argentina, driven by the production of shale oil and gas in the Vaca Muerta geological reserve, has slowed down due to the plunge in global oil prices, which has put a curb on local development and is threatening investment and employment.
In 1976, the construction of a hydroelectric dam destroyed farmland in the rural municipality of Chicoasén in southern Mexico. Forty years later, part of the local population is fighting a second dam, which would deprive them of more land.
When the new locks of the expanded Panama Canal begin operations, they will do so amidst numerous challenges, because of the storm clouds hanging over the global economy, especially China. But local authorities and experts are not worried about the possible impact on the expanded canal.
Over the last decade, Central America has managed to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels for the production of electric power, while expanding coverage. But the progress made by each country varies widely.
Argentina’s new government is reviewing several major projects to be carried out jointly with China. But aside from a few changes in priorities, the administration is not expected to put the brakes on an alliance that Beijing classifies as strategic.