Brazil, which boasts that it has one of the cleanest energy mixes in the world, is now plagued by corruption, poor market conditions, and bad decisions – a near fatal combination.
The Chilean government’s approval of a hydroelectric dam in the Patagonia wilderness has rekindled the debate on the sustainability and efficiency of large-scale hydropower plants and whether they contribute to building a cleaner energy mix.
A novel energy project in Chile will combine a pumped-storage hydroelectric plant operating on seawater and a solar plant, to provide a steady supply of clean energy to a fishing village in the Atacama Desert, the world’s driest.
The BR-163 highway, an old dream of the Brazilian military to colonise the Amazon jungle, was revived by agroexporters as part of a plan aimed at cutting costs by shipping soy out of river ports. But the improvement of the road has accentuated problems such as deforestation and land tenure, and is fuelling new social conflicts.
At dusk on the Tapajós River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River in northern Brazil, the Mundurukú indigenous people gather to bathe and wash clothes in these waters rich in fish, the staple of their diet. But the “evil spirit”, as they refer in their language to the Sao Luiz Tapajós dam, threatens to leave most of their territory – and their way of life – under water.
River port terminals in the northern Brazilian city of Santarém are considered strategic by the government. But what some see as an opportunity for development is for others an irreversible change in what was previously a well-preserved part of the Amazon rainforest.
In the northern Brazilian state of Pará, the construction of a port terminal for shipping soy out of the Amazon region has displaced thousands of small farmers from their land, which is now dedicated to monoculture.
Uruguay is modifying its energy mix with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, by means of a strategy that bolsters non-conventional clean energy sources through public-private partnerships and new investment. A majority of this South American country’s energy already comes from renewable sources.
Eight of the world’s leading economies will double their renewable energy supply by 2030 if they live up to their pledges to contribute to curbing global warming, which will be included in the new climate treaty.
“That law should have existed since the end of slavery, which threw slaves into the street without offering them adequate conditions for working and producing, turning them into semi-slaves,” said Brazilian farmer Idevan Correa.
The international scientific community’s fears about the damage that will be caused by Nicaragua’s future interoceanic canal have been reinforced by the environmental impact assessment, which warns of serious environmental threats posed by the megaproject.
Working as a musician in a military band is the dream of 21-year-old Jackson Coutinho, since hopes that a petrochemical complex would drive the industrialisation of this Brazilian city near Rio de Janeiro have gone up in smoke.
Cuba's oil industry only exploits five percent of the petroleum found in onshore and offshore deposits due to a lack of foreign capital and technology to develop oilfields like Varadero 1000, the country's biggest oil operation until now.
Itaboraí still recalls its origins as a sprawling city that sprang up along a highway, not far from Rio de Janeiro. But a few years ago big modern buildings began to sprout all over this city in southeast Brazil, whose offices and shops are almost all empty today.
The emergence of fracking has modified the global market for fossil fuels. But the plunge in oil prices has diluted the effect, in a struggle that experts in the United States believe conventional producers could win in the next decade.