"When I was a little girl we didn't suffer from water shortages like we do now. Today we are experiencing more droughts, our water sources are drying up and we cannot sit idly by," Kely Quispe, a small farmer from the community of Huasao, located half an hour from Cuzco, the capital of Peru's ancient Inca empire, told IPS.
First came sugar. For four centuries, it was the main sugarcane product in Brazil. But since the 1970s sugarcane has grown and diversified as a source of energy: ethanol, electricity and biogas.
The effects of the covid-19 pandemic and high energy prices have had an impact on the consumption of polluting fuels in Latin America and the Caribbean, exacerbating energy poverty in the region.
It sounds incredible: while politicians have been cackling about the climate emergency and profiling in empty promises to halt it, they have spent six trillion US dollars from taxpayers' money to subsidise fossil fuels in just one year: 2020. And they are set to increase the figure to nearly seven trillion by 2025.
The number of victims of serious burns, some fatal, has increased in Brazil. Without money to buy cooking gas, the price of which rose 30 percent this year, many poor families resort to ethanol and people are injured in household accidents.
Breaking the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and accelerating the global uptake of renewable energy will play a decisive role in diminishing the threat of global warming to the survival of life on earth, according to experts. But turning the vision into reality will demand unwavering political will and, critically, massive investment, which can no longer be shouldered solely by aid and development partners.
Next to the brick or adobe houses of El Impenetrable, a wild area of forest and grasslands in northern Argentina, loom huge plastic barrels where rainwater collected from the corrugated iron roofs of the houses is stored. However, the barrels are empty, because it has hardly rained for two years, local residents complain.
More than 90 percent of Chile's 17.5 million people have access to electricity. But many live in energy poverty because they do not have access to hot water, have unsafe connections, houses without thermal insulation and with indoor pollution, or can't afford to pay the monthly bill.
"The biggest problem for family farmers has always been to market and sell what they produce, at a fair price," says Natalia Manini, a member of the Union of Landless Rural Workers (UST), a small farmers organisation in Argentina that has been taking steps to forge direct ties with consumers.
With aging infrastructure and problems with fuel supplies, Cuba is facing a crisis in its electric power generation system, which could accelerate plans to increase the share of renewable sources in the energy mix.
Basic sanitation, a sector that is undervalued because, according to politicians, it does not bring in votes, has gained relevance in Brazil due to the pandemic that has hit the poor especially hard and the drought that threatens millions of people.
As the saying goes, united we stand, divided we fall, hundreds of families in rural communities in El Salvador are standing together to gain access to drinking water.
President Xi announced last month
that China is stopping its financing for new coal-fired power plants overseas. With this announcement from Beijing, the governments of the world’s largest economies have now achieved a consensus to halt their overseas funding of coal plants in developing countries, thereby advancing global efforts to reduce future carbon dioxide (CO2
After climbing a steep hill along winding paths, you reach a huge water tank at the top that supplies peasant farmer families who had no water and instead set up their own community project on this coastal strip in central El Salvador.
In the San Lorenzo Huitzizilapan Otomí indigenous community, in the state of Mexico –adjacent to the country’s capital–, access to water has been based on collective work.
Despite the impact that their policies have with regard to the climate emergency, Latin America's central banks continue to avoid applying guidelines in measures that affect the operation of credit institutions, which distances them from compliance with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
As most of the world seeks to modify its energy mix to mitigate climate change, Brazil has also been forced to do so to adapt to the climate crisis whose effects are being felt in the country due to the scarcity of rainfall.
Argentina, historically an agricultural powerhouse, has become a major producer of biofuels in recent years. However, this South American country is now moving backwards in the use of this oil substitute in transportation, a decision in which economics weighed heavily and environmental concerns have been ignored.
The sea of soybeans that sprouts every November will spread even further in the state of Mato Grosso if three new railway lines that would boost soy production in central-western Brazil and growing parts of the Amazon rainforest are built.
Access to water is a constant struggle in Central America, a region with more than 60 million people, many of whom live in rural areas where conditions for good quality water and enough for food production are becoming increasingly difficult.
Communities in Arica y Parinacota, the region in the extreme north of Chile, are using solar energy and are being empowered by projects for shrimp and trout farming, the production of yarn from camelid wool, the production of tomatoes and cheese, and even the sale of surplus solar power to the national electric grid.