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Theft of radioactive material in Mexico

Mexico Under High Alert After Theft of Radioactive Material, It’s at least the eighth such robbery since 2013, By Eileen Guo, February 10, 2018


February 12, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Solar power – now a winner for Chile

FT 7th Dec 2017, About 200 megawatts per hour pulse from Latin America’s largest solar
power station into nearby transmission lines that stretch more than 600km
south to the capital Santiago from its location in the Atacama Desert, one
of the driest and sunniest places on earth.

“This is the face of the future of Chile,” says José Ignacio Escobar, general manager in Latin
America for Spain’s Acciona, which built and operates El Romero. “Chile
may be poor in old energy, but it is very rich in renewables. Can you see a
single cloud?” he asks, gesturing towards the indigo sky that is so clear
that the world’s most powerful telescopes are built in the Atacama.

It is only recently that Chile began to harvest the formidable power of the
Atacama’s sun. Just five years ago, the country produced negligible
amounts of renewable energy and was heavily dependent on imports from its
unreliable neighbours, suffering from blackouts and some of the highest
energy prices in the world. But this shortage of fossil fuels has
stimulated an unprecedented boom in investment in renewable — and
especially solar — energy since then, despite a contraction in investment
in almost all other sectors during a period of economic stagnation at the
end of the commodities boom.

December 9, 2017 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

New record low for solar PV in Chile energy auction

Renew Economy 7th Nov 2017, The latest energy auction in Chile has set a new record low for solar PV,
with one bid by the local subsidiary of Italian outfit, Enel, coming in at
just $US21.48/MWh The result beats the previous record low of $US24.20 set
in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year, although it could be beaten
by Saudi Arabia’s first auction, should the early results of a tender
that secured an offer of $US17.90/MWh be verified later this month. Either
way, the Chile government is happy with the result, which secured an
average price of $US32.5/MWh for 600MW of solar and wind capacity, expected
to produce around 2,200GWh. This is a 75 per cent fall since its auction
program began in 2015. The Chile government says it will mean consumer
prices fall by nearly 50 per cent once all the new projects are completed
and online in 2024.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear power to Latin America

Russian Nuclear Company Sees Success in Latin America, 1 October 2017New branches of the company will be constructed in El Alto, Bolivia and should be in operation by 2020.

Two years since its move to Latin America, Rosatom, Russia’s main nuclear power company, has seen great success, the company’s Latin American representative, Ivan Dybov, said.

“Rosatom has several projects in Latin America, but the main one is in Bolivia. Last September 19 we signed the contract for the construction of the Center for Research and Development in Nuclear Technology,” Dybov said.

The new branches will be constructed in El Alto and should be in operation by 2020…..

October 2, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Russia, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Argentinia’s Catholic Bishops announce opposition to construction of nuclear power station

Catholic Culture 11th Aug 2017, The bishops of Patagonia, the southernmost region of Argentina, have
announced their opposition to the construction of a Beijing-financed
nuclear power plant at an unannounced location in Rio Negro Province. A
nuclear power plant “produces dangerous refuse which remains radioactive
for a long period of time and implicates a very high cost,” the bishops

August 14, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Vulnerable to Climate Change – Manaus, Brazil

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots  Global warming will not affect everyone equally. Here we look at seven key regions to see how each is tackling the consequences of climate change, Guardian, John Vidal, 23 June 17

“…. Manaus, Brazil

When Carlos Nobre, one of Brazil’s leading climatologists, lived in Manaus in the 1970s, the population was a few hundred thousand and the highest temperature ever recorded in the city had been 33.5C. The city was surrounded by cool, dense forest and the greatest river on Earth. Heat waves were rare and floods regular but manageable.

Today Manaus has more than 2 million people, and it and the wider Amazon region are changing fast. In 2015, Nobre says, the temperature in Manaus soared to 38.8C. “The Amazon is tropical and very hot, but when I lived there the hot spells were rare,” he says. “Now we see many more of them.” Not only that, he says, but dry seasons are longer by a week than they were a decade ago and weather is more erratic.

Nobre notes that tree loss is exacerbating the effects of climate change. “In many parts of continental South America one sees about 1C warming in the Amazon, which can [be] mostly attributed to global warming. In areas like Rondônia, where there has been widespread deforestation, we see an additional 1C warming due to replacement of forest – which is a high-evaporating vegetation – to pasture, which is less evaporating.”

Hot spells in such a humid climate are a real hazard to health. Yet adaptation to climate change in a teeming, poor city like Manaus is non-existent for the many people who must struggle just to survive. For the middle classes, air conditioning is now essential. The most city authorities can do is plant trees to cool the streets and protect the river banks from flooding.

The great uncertainty is how far the drying of the Amazon could affect the rest of the world. “If you change the rainfall in the Amazon, you could transport the impacts very far away,” Nobre says. “According to my calculations, there will be a lot of impacts in southeastern Brazil and also over equatorial Africa and the US. But we cannot pinpoint what will happen.”

Perhaps most ominous is the fact that a positive feedback loop appears to be in play. As the Amazon dries, Nobre says, tropical forest will gradually shift to savanna, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and further adding to global warming.

“When we see a dry season of over four months, or deforestation of more than 40%, then there is no way back. Trees will slowly decay, and in 50 years we would see a degraded savanna. It would take 100–200 years to see a fully fledged savanna.”

The Amazon then would be unrecognizable, along with much of Earth. …

June 24, 2017 Posted by | Brazil, climate change | Leave a comment

Nicaruagua wanted a stronger global climate accord

Paris climate agreement: Why aren’t Nicaragua and Syria signatories  When President Donald Trump announced the US would be withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, he put America in the company of just two other countries that are not signatories to the agreement: Nicaragua and Syria.

Syria has been torn apart by a civil war which has raged since 2011. With thousands dead and accusations of atrocities committed by both sides, the country is under sanctions which make it difficult for its leaders to travel abroad.

But the reason for Nicaragua refusing to sign the deal is less obvious. The small Central American nation refused to sign in 2015 because it did not think the deal went far enough.

Nicaraguan lead envoy Paul Oquist called the Paris agreement “a path to failure” that lets big polluters off the hook when speaking to Climate Home on the sidelines of the 2015 talks.

“We don’t want to be an accomplice to taking the world to 3 to 4 degrees and the death and destruction that represents,” Mr Oquist said.

“It’s a not a matter of being trouble makers, it’s a matter of the developing countries surviving.”

Mr Oquist said the world’s 10 biggest carbon polluters accounted for 72 per cent of historical emissions, while the 100 smallest were responsible for just 3 per cent.

Nicaragua contributes 0.03 per cent of global emissions, according to the European Commission’ Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research.

The Central American nation is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, ranking fourth in the world most affected by extreme weather events, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2017.

Between 1996 and 2015 Nicaragua was hit with 44 extreme weather events, including floods, droughts and forest fires.

June 3, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics international, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Climate change facilitated the spread of the Zika disease

climate-changeZika outbreak ‘fuelled by’ El Niño and climate change, Skeptical Science  13 January 2017 The combination of a strong El Niño event and human-caused climate change created optimal conditions for the recent outbreak of the Zika virus in South America, a new study says.

The spread of Zika during 2015-16 caused hundreds of thousands of infections, a surge in cases of birth defects linked to the disease, and saw athletes withdrawing from the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The warm conditions of 2015-16 were “exceptionally conducive” to mosquitoes spreading the disease across the continent, the researchers say, helped by the lack of natural immunity in the South American population.

And their results suggest there is a significant risk of summer outbreaks of Zika in the southeastern states of the US, southern China and southern Europe………

The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that the outbreak was very likely fuelled by the unusually high temperatures of the last two years – a result of a very strong El Niño event on top of ongoing human-caused climate change.

El Niño is a weather phenomenon that originates in the Pacific Ocean, which tends to increase global temperature for a couple of years by releasing heat from the ocean to the atmosphere. The El Niño that developed in 2015 – and petered out in June 2016 – was one of the strongest on record.

Climate influence

An outbreak of Zika needs three main ingredients, says lead author Dr Cyril Caminade, a research associate in the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool. He tells Carbon Brief:

“The minimum requirement for a vector-borne disease outbreak is the presence of competent mosquito vectors (Aedes mosquitoes), the presence of the pathogen (Zika is believed to have entered Brazil in 2013 but the World cup in 2014 must have helped too), and the presence of a suitable host (humans).”

There are then a series of factors that affect how far and how quickly an outbreak can spread. Some are socio-economic – such as poverty, access to sanitation, and the availability of healthcare and vaccines – but the climate ultimately “sets the background” to disease transmission, Caminade says……..

climate change has the potential to push vector-borne diseases like Zika into higher latitudes and altitudes, says Caminade. Though the scale of any outbreak will depend on other non-climate factors too, he adds……..

January 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Mexico’s installed solar capacity is expected to increase 20-fold by 2019

Solar leading the charge in Mexico’s clean energy push BN Americas By Adam Critchley – Tuesday, December 27, 2016  Mexico’s installed solar capacity is expected to increase 20-fold by 2019 to 5.4GW, the energy ministry (Sener) said.

Key growth drivers are two supply auctions held in March and September, which will result in 1,691MW and 1,853MW being added, respectively.

Solar dominated the September auction, accounting for 54% of electric power sold and 53% of clean energy certificates (CEC) issued. It was followed by wind with 43% of power and 41% of CECs. Hydroelectric and geothermal accounted for 3% of power and 2% of CECs, respectively.

Mexico’s solar PV capacity is expected to grow 275% this year, or by 390MW, US consultancy GTM Research has said.

Mexico’s installed clean energy capacity grew 6.3% year-on-year in June to 20.2GW, and these types of sources now account for 28.4% of the country’s energy generation mix, Sener said.

Growth has so far been led by wind and co-generation. Wind power capacity is expected to triple over the coming years, largely due to the development of the projects awarded contracts in this year’s auctions. Wind power capacity is expected to total 2,456MW by the end of 2018 and 3,857MW by the end of 2019.

In the first half of 2016 Mexico generated 30,586GWh of clean energy, 19.68% of the total generated, with a 34.9% increase in generation by co-generation plants and 11.9% growth by wind……

December 28, 2016 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

A NUCLEAR WEAPON-FREE WORLD – the work of Latin American nations towards achieving this


December 2, 2016 Posted by | SOUTH AMERICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change in action: Bolivia’s fast-melting glaciers

climate-changeWe must be prepared for the impact of Bolivia’s fast-melting glaciers
The country’s glaciers are leaving behind lakes that could cause catastrophic flooding of vast metropolitan areas. Simon Cook considers the impact on communities living below the waters,
The Independent, Simon Cook  Thursday 27 October 2016 Bolivia’s glaciers have shrunk by more than 40 per cent in the past few decades. This puts further pressure on an already stressed water supply, while the meltwater lakes left behind risk collapsing in sudden and catastrophic outburst floods. That’s the conclusion of a new study of the country’s glaciers I conducted with colleagues based in the UK and Bolivia. Our results are published in the journal The Cryosphere.

Although Bolivia sits in the tropics, the Andes run through the country like a spine. Many mountains exceed 6,000 metres, among the highest outside of south and central Asia, meaning that glaciers can exist here. Indeed, Bolivia contains around 20 per cent of the world’s so-called “tropical glaciers”. But these glaciers are very sensitive to the effects of a warming climate. Our study shows that Bolivian glaciers have shrunk by around 43 per cent since the mid-1980s – a period marked by increasing temperatures. We estimate that these glaciers will be much diminished by the end of the century.

  • This matters first because people depend on water that drains from glaciers. La Paz and neighbouring El Alto draw on water from several surrounding glaciers, and together these cities form a fast-growing metropolitan area that is home to more than two million people. Throughout the year, glaciers supply around 15 per cent of the drinking water, but this proportion almost doubles during the dry season between May and October. The glaciers can’t keep “topping up” an unsustainable water supply like this. The short-term gain of more water during the dry season will turn into a longer-term water resource problem once the glaciers disappear. ….
  • These disappearing glaciers also threaten to unleash sudden and devastating floods from meltwater lakes that develop as the ice recedes. ……

November 28, 2016 Posted by | climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Climate emergency in Peru, with huge forest fires

climate SOSPeru declares state of emergency over deadly forest fires Blazes have burnt 12,000 hectares, including five protected natural areas Endangered species under threat from fires that ‘took us by surprise’, Guardian,  , 24 Nov 16Peru has declared a state of emergency in seven districts in the north of the country where forest fires have killed two, injured four and burnt nearly 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) of land, including five protected natural areas.

Wildfires have spread to 11 regions across the country, according to Peru’s civil defence institute, in what scientists say may be the worst drought in more than a decade.

Peru’s environment minister, Elsa Galarza, said a special brigade of firefighters had been deployed to the worst-affected areas in the north. The 31 firefighters are normally stationed in the Inca citadel Machu Picchu, the country’s top tourist attraction.

Endangered animal species such as the spectacled bear – which inspired the Paddington Bear children’s stories – and the white-winged guan are under threat from the blazes. Other rare species such as jaguars, howler monkeys and the collared anteater, are seeing their habitat destroyed inside the protected areas, which include the Amotape mountain range and Cutervo national park.

Peru’s prime minister, Fernando Zavala, travelled to the affected areas and said the state of emergency would allow the government to “continue mobilising people, resources and diverse equipment in order to confront these fires”.

“The ferocity and speed of the fires took us by surprise,” said Joel Córdoba, chief at the Paigabamba protected forest in Cajamarca, one of the worst-affected regions. ……

November 24, 2016 Posted by | climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Russia spreading its influence, seeking lithium deal with Chile

Russian-BearRussian nuclear firm Rosatom eyes Chilean lithium By Rosalba O’Brien | SANTIAGO 2 Oct 16 Russian state nuclear power plant giant Rosatom sent lobbyists to meet with the Chilean government and discuss “collaboration in possible lithium projects,” a government website revealed at the weekend.

Four representatives of the company met with Mining Deputy Minister Igancio Moreno in September, according to information published on the government’s lobbying transparent website.

Rosatom has signed billions of dollars worth of overseas contracts and is seen as a tool for Russia to wield political influence abroad.

This year, it signed a contract to build a nuclear research center in Chile’s neighbor Bolivia. It also has interests in several other Latin American countries.

Chile itself has no nuclear power plants and is not expected to build any, as it is one of the world’s most seismically active countries and is regularly shaken by strong earthquakes.

But Chile does have one of the world’s most plentiful supplies of lithium, a mineral used in rechargeable batteries and electronics that has seen rocketing interest and a sharp price rise in recent months on hopes of an electric vehicle boom.

Lithium also has applications for the nuclear industry. As a consequence, the Chilean government considers lithium a “strategic mineral,” leasing out rights and limiting its production.

Most lithium extraction projects involve partnership with the government and state copper miner Codelco [COBRE.UL] is expected to decide on a partner to develop its own lithium assets in the first quarter of next year.

October 3, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Extreme drought: the impact of climate change and El Nino on the Amazon rainforest

climate-changeEl Niño, global warming combine to cause extreme drought in Amazon rainforest, Science daily  September 14, 2016  Source: Asociación RUVID

The impact the current 2015/2016 El Niño is having in Amazonia has been revealed by new research. Areas of extreme drought and changes to their typical distribution in the region are among the most evident consequences.
A study led by researchers at the Global Change Unit at the Universitat de València (UV) shows the impact the current 2015/2016 El Niño is having in Amazonia. Areas of extreme drought and changes to their typical distribution in the region are among the most evident consequences.
The El Niño effect is part of a cycle of global heating and cooling associated with the changing temperatures of a band of ocean water in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific ocean. Repeating every three to five years, it is one of the main drivers of climate variability. Although its consequences are felt at the global level, its impact on tropical forests — particularly the Amazon rainforests — are considered particularly significant, since this ecosystem is considered one of the planet’s main carbon sinks……
The study, by researchers at the Universitat de València and published in Scientific Reports, shows how the current El Niño event is associated with an unprecedented heating of Amazonia, reaching the highest temperature in the last forty years and, probably, the last century. Additionally, extreme drought has hit a much larger area of this region than usual and is distributed atypically, with extremely dry conditions in the northeast and unusual wetting in the southeast (something which occurred in 2009/2010, though to a lesser extent).According to the UV scientists, this fact, not observed in the 1982/1983 and 1997/1998 events, implies that, the more the central equatorial Pacific is heated, the more marked the difference between and distribution of the wet zones and areas of extreme drought in the Amazon rainforest………

September 16, 2016 Posted by | climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Brazil’s increase in fires in Amazon region – alarming news

The alarming number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon, Mongabay, 8 September 2016 / Commentary by Natália Girão Rodrigues de Mello

For three months, from September to December 2015, Manaus was engulfed in smoke, resembling Beijing. That was an unusual scene, and an undeniable sign that predatory exploration in the Brazilian Amazon has not yet been properly tackled.

  • The sharp decrease in the annual rates of forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon is celebrated worldwide. The trend started in 2005 after a peak in deforestation the year before.
  • However, the figures are not so bright when it comes to forest fires, and few people are talking about that.
  • The number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon is alarming, and that was especially true in 2015, when a sharp increase in forest fires occurred………
  • Natural factors alone fail to explain this recent increase, as similar climatic conditions in the past were not associated with the same amount of forest fires.

    Forest fires and precipitation are strongly correlated in the Brazilian Amazon; in dry years, more forest fires occur. 2015 was a dry year, but not as dry as 2010 or 2005 were – years when the region faced anomalous droughts. Nevertheless, in 2015, forest fires increased 115.6 percent and 105.5 percent compared to 2005 and 2010, respectively. Hence it is safe to say that the peak observed last year was strongly associated with unregulated anthropogenic activities in the forest.

    In the region, using fire in order to clear large areas is a common practice. The expansion of roads, settlements, croplands and cattle ranches has been leading fires to reach ever-wider areas of the forest.

    The consequences associated with this issue are vast. They are felt locally, regionally and globally. Forest fires contribute to climate change due to the emission of three greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. As the forest burns, health-damaging gases – carbon monoxide, non-methane hydrocarbons, methyl chloride, and methyl bromide – are also emitted, as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and aerosols. VOCs interact with nitrous oxides to form ozone, a phytotoxic gas. Aerosols cause the suppression of cloud formation and the decrease of precipitation efficiency. Moreover, a positive feedback between fire-induced death of trees and increased solar penetration in the forest occurs, resulting in the intensification of successive fires…….

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Brazil, climate change | Leave a comment