Around the Region

Costa Rica hones plans to achieve carbon-neutrality

Costa Rica, moving aggressively to meet its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2021, has unveiled a plan to increase its use of renewable energy, push a quarter of its taxi and bus fleet to use cleaner fuels, and plant 7 million trees to absorb carbon dioxide. Costa Rica already has taken significant steps to reduce its carbon footprint by increasing its forest cover from 21% in 1987 to 52% today and improving its energy efficiency by 15%. But the plan, announced by René Castro, the minister of environment, energy and telecommunications, puts Costa Rica on a path to become the world’s first carbon-neutral nation within a decade. “With this plan, we should be able to reduce 2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide, or...

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In Brazil, credits for forest conservation to be traded

The Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro this month activated a trading system in which landowners in violation of government land-clearing limits can legalize their property by buying credits from those who conserve more than the required minimum. The land-clearing restrictions that guide the new trading system are set down in the Forest Code, a 1965 law that was revised this year. The revised law retains a longstanding requirement that landowners keep a portion of their land uncut—80% in the Amazon, 35% in the woodland savannah known as the Cerrado, and 20% elsewhere. (See ‘Ruralistas prevail in Brazil’s Forest Code battle’—EcoAméricas, Oct. ’12) Using the new electronic trading system, called the Rio de Janeiro Green Exchange (BVRio), landowners who have failed...

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Buenos Aires pledges major trash reduction

In early 2004, the state-owned company that handles solid-waste disposal for the Argentine capital concluded that the landfill in the surrounding province of Buenos Aires where it dumped the city’s trash was just a few years shy of reaching capacity. So the company, Ceamse, solicited private bids for the construction of a new landfill elsewhere in the province. Ceamse soon learned the hard way how public concern about the environmental impacts of waste disposal had grown strong in Argentina. The request for proposals flopped: not one bid was presented because none of the private companies interested in building a landfill could find a community willing to host the project. “Now we need to think about alternatives,” said Carlos Hurst, Ceamse’s president at the...

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