Around the Region

Surge in renewable energy forecast for Latin America

Latin America will experience rapid renewable-energy growth through 2020, with Brazil, Mexico and Chile leading the way, according to an international trade group’s report. Escalating oil prices, low interest rates and falling costs in renewable-energy technology will spur brisk escalation in the use of alternative power throughout the region, says the report, written for the New York-based International Copper Association (ICA). But the progress will not be even. For instance, Brazil, Mexico and Chile already have numerous regulatory and financial incentives in place to support such growth, especially in wind and biomass, while Venezuela lags in that respect. The report, entitled “Renewable Energy for Electricity Generation in Latin America: market, technologies and outlook,” was released in April though it was prepared last...

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Honduran biosphere reserve added to Unesco’s watch list

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has placed Honduras’s largest protected area on its endangered list, acknowledging that the Honduran government has lost its ability to prevent illegal logging, land occupations and drug trafficking there. The June 22 decision by Unesco to add the 800,000-hectare (2-million-acre) Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, to its List of World Heritage in Danger comes at the request of the Honduran government. In its request, the government cited its reduced ability to curb environmentally harmful activities in the reserve, “notably due to the deterioration of law and to the presence of drug traffickers.” The decision, experts say, reflects the environmental implications of Honduras’s emergence as a hub for Mexican cartels moving...

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Honduras, Bahamas declare complete ban on shark fishing

Providing an important boost to shark conservation, Honduras and the Bahamas have joined a tiny group of nations banning the export of shark products as well as shark fishing throughout their territorial waters. The legislation, signed into law by Honduras’ President Porfirio Lobo on June 24 and by Bahamian Agriculture and Fishing Minister Lawrence Cartwright on July 5, makes the two countries the only ones in the Americas to impose such complete bans. The only other countries in the world to have taken similar measures are the Pacific island nation of Palau and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, both of which passed their legislation over the last two years. “These laws are a big advance for shark conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean...

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