Blogs

Dams, Patagonia, and Chile's energy future

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The national debate that has erupted in Chile over its energy future and the future of Patagonia brings new optimism. As Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef commented in a recent interview: “The approval of HidroAysen might just be a good thing, because it is uniting the country against the project.” 

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Ten reasons HidroAysen is not necessary

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1. It is not true that the demand for electricity in Chile needs to double in 10 years. In fact, it has grown at an annual rate of just 3.8% in the last 11 years, and any reasonable analysis shows a growth rate no greater than 4.5% per year.

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The transfer of the public forests of Chubut

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A lengthy process culminated in Das Neves signing a decree that deregulates the power of the province and goes straight to the administration of the Directorate of Forests and Parks. The danger with this power shift is that it will allow business to use the forest as an instrument to gain profit off the lucrative real estate development in northwest Chubut. It’s an absurd plan that mirrors the implementation in the Menem era of the mining code that allowed for the transfer of national mineral resources to the provinces and further paved the way for corporations, which obviously have a better chance at avoiding the power of the petty feudal lords who manage the natural assets of the provinces.
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Patagonia's wild rivers at risk (with photographic essay)

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A plan to build five large-scale hydroelectric dams on the Baker and Pascua rivers in Chilean Patagonia, then send the power to Chile’s capitol Santiago via an immense 2,300- kilometer electric transmission line that traverses numerous parks and protected areas, is entering a crucial stage. 
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Nuclear energy and dams, two faces of the same nonsense

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If they approve the Castilla coal-fired energy plant, it’s a sign that the government gives priority to big projects regardless of whether they contaminate the environment. It could not be better for HydroAysen and Energia Austral.

If they reject the Barrancones coal-fired energy plant, it will mean less energy for Chile which will make more imperious the big projects for lack of electricity. It could not be better for HydroAysen and Energia Austral.

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Meditative contemplation

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In recent weeks, in the Chilean media you will likely have found many articles with headlines like “Exploring the sites of Aysen,” or “Patagonia Chile is one of the top destinations in Lonely Planet”,  or “Fishing lodges provide excursions in anticipation of the winter season”, or “Opening a new tourist route through the forests and rivers of Aysen.” 
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Riesco Island conflict: Who decides Chile’s energy future?

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Punta Arenas Mayor Vladimiro Mimica spoke for many when after a vote last month on the highly controversial Mina Invierno coal mine project proposed for Riesco Island in southern Chilean Patagonia he stated that the central government in Santiago is “ignoring the opinions of the regions and its citizens.” 
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The HidroAysen case: a vision from Aysen

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As Chileans, we have worked to set objectives, being responsible for our way of life and knowing how to relate with our own culture. Tourism in Chile has come a long way in the past 20 years and it has produced a new standard of living in Chilean Patagonia.
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Scientists urge faster action on Patagonia glaciers and climate change

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A group of scientists is preparing to warn Chile’s government that it must move faster to address threats posed by melting glaciers, particularly the deluges known as glacial lake outburst floods, or Glofs. 

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