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Climate Action 2010-2011

SPECIAL FEATURE |

SPECIAL FEATURE | Empresas Electricas A.G. © Creative commons/flickr/cesargp Mitigating climate change in Chile: finding solutions together Chile is working towards reducing its emissions and is keen to address the issue of climate change. Chile’s per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are currently about equal to the world average but the country faces a projected rise in emissions of up to 300 per cent over the next two decades. Assuming responsibility for climate change in Chile is a key issue, especially given the country’s recent accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). At the same time, Chilean exporters, especially those exporting environmentally sensitive consumer products such as food and timber, have become increasingly aware of the need to reduce the carbon footprint of their products and operations. The positive environmental side-effects from mitigation and carbon sequestration activities are also starting to be better understood and a survey this year revealed that around two-thirds of Chileans would be willing to pay higher prices for electricity from clean energy sources. The Chilean government has committed to a 20 per cent reduction in CO 2 emissions by the year 2020 against its base line. Studies have also been conducted into the costs of different options for mitigation and the impacts of climate change on different productive sectors. Scenarios have been modelled, economists have utilised tools such as cost-effectiveness analyses, and scientists are identifying a range of the best available mitigation technologies. However, these actions are only part of the necessary response. For change to materialise and be sustained in the long term there has to be a coherent and consistent national strategy based on the participation of a broad range of actors, private and public, non-governmental, business and academic. Without open, transparent and frank discussion, little genuine transformation will take place. Six institutions: Empresas Eléctricas, Fundación Chile, Fundación AVINA, Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad Alberto Hurtado have recognised the need for greater climate change debate and together initiated a round table discussion with a milestone event in November this year. The initiative, called ‘Mitigating Climate Change – effective and efficient solutions’ aims to establish a | 174 | platform for discussing the measures and instruments proposed to mitigate climate change in Chile. The information should be useful for both the private and public sector and both should be part of the discussions. The measures will be analysed with regard to their costeffectiveness as well as their technical feasibility, socioeconomic and environmental impacts and their potential effects on cultural change. A steering committee of 30 institutions accompanies the initiative, made up of 11 private companies, four industry associations, four universities and a host of NGOs, public sector and intergovernmental organisations. First results indicate that there is a wide range of costeffective measures which have not been implemented due to technical and informational barriers and technological and regulatory lock-ins. Consensus exists around strategic topics such as the need to strengthen the National Agency for Energy Efficiency, a systematic programme of capacity building and the introduction of metrics and measurable goals in different sectors. Taxing CO 2 emissions or developing a ‘cap and trade’ system are topics that have only recently entered the national discussion but there is general consensus that impact evaluations of these instruments are urgently needed. The initiative evaluates not only the cost-effectiveness of measures but also their positive social and environmental impacts. Raising energy efficiency in agriculture is particularly attractive in this context, given its positive relation with water efficiency, as are various measures to improve the energy efficiency of housing, through insulation or installing efficient showers. The measures proposed by the initiative are all technically feasible today and many of these could be implemented with a public-private joint effort urgently. Even then, there is still much to be done: it is estimated that the measures proposed so far represent about one third of the total range of applicable measures using currently available technology. Website: www.cambioclimaticochile.org www.climateactionprogramme.org

Roca, a leader in sustainability Roca is a company that designs, produces and sells architectural, building and interior design products for bathrooms. The company is fully Spanish-owned and has 68 production centres. It has a commercial presence in 135 markets across five continents. Roca works to develop and foster various technologies and initiatives that help protect the environment. This commitment can be seen in our production processes through the Eco-Roca project, in our efforts to develop water-saving products, and in our social projects, such as the recently-launched We Are Water Foundation. Eco-Roca, the programme that implements our environmental policy in the production centres, has two main goals: firstly, to reduce CO 2 emissions by 25% compared with our 2006 levels by 2014, and secondly, to achieve a manufacturing process without any material waste, through the Zero-Waste programme. In terms of products, Roca is conducting intensive R&D&I work to develop innovative new concepts that will save water and energy on a daily basis. One of the most important new developments is the launch of W+W. This product combines a basin and toilet in a single unit, which means reducing water usage by up to 50%, as water from the basin is reused for flushing the toilet. The company’s commitment to responsible water use and consumption is intrinsic to our business practice, and is reflected in the We Are Water Foundation, www.wearewater.org The Foundation’s purpose is to mitigate the negative effects of water scarcity or poorly managed water resources, as well as to raise public awareness and encourage people to donate funds towards establishing aid projects. To this end, the We Are Water Foundation carries out various activities in partnership with several NGOs (UNICEF, Oxfam, Fundación Vicente Ferrer and Education without Borders). Renewable energy in Chile The renewable energy sector in Chile will experience a significant expansion in the coming years, mainly due to modifications in the Electricity Law. These changes have encouraged the development of projects based on non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE) and facilitated access to electricity markets for NCRE projects. Renewable targets have also been included in the modifications. For example, Law 20.257 of NCRE (2008) states that five per cent of total electricity must be generated from renewable sources by 2010. From year 2015, this percentage should be increased by 0.5 per cent per annum in order to reach a final goal of 10 per cent by 2024. This scenario, coupled with rising prices for conventional fuels has created an increase in renewable energy projects and so Chile is focusing its efforts on its vast potential of renewable resources such as wind, hydro, biomass, solar and geothermal. Local efforts have also recently focused on minimising the barriers for implementing NCRE projects, including; resource information, legal processing, regulatory framework, local infrastructure, credit access, direct-support tools, among others. Chilean consulting firm, POCH, a specialist in energy infrastructure projects, has been constantly engaged in strategic consulting in this sector, facilitating technology transfer both in Chile and abroad for various renewable energy projects. The experience of POCH is not limited to the execution of studies related to NCRE, however. It has experience across a wide range of activities covering engineering and design, energy services, climate change and technologies, allowing its team to know all stages of the business, including resource exploration, design of technological solutions, environmental research and execution of works, as well as the linkage to environmental markets such carbon emissions reduction. This wide-ranging experience has led POCH to generate an extensive network of diverse stakeholders in Chile and Latin America, and also Europe, North America and Asia. Mexico: a country with (renewed) energy! At the end of the last century, the governments of Mexico envisaged abundant oil supplies for the country long into the future. But today we find ourselves in a very different reality: one where exploration for new oil fields and even the processing of proven reserves has slowed. Those of us born in the second half of the twentieth century, have wasted fossil energy resources to the point of grave depletion, leaving ourselves and future generations no option but to use what remains efficiently while also recognising the serious risks of burning fossil fuels for our environment and climate. Yet Mexico, geographically blessed, receives intense sunshine averaging 5kWh/m 2 every day. Its coastlines stretch for 9,330km while its climate ranges from tropical heat to the subzero temperatures of its snowcapped peaks. Combined, these natural riches represent huge potential for developing alternative energy sources, from solar, wind, goethermal, tidal and others. For many years, the Mexican state has allocated huge sums to subsidising conventional energy. Why not now subsidise our domestic renewable energy industry? New laws and regulations could incentivise the development and use of renewables, helping strengthen a fledgling industry that is of strategic importance to Mexico’s future. Since 1976, Mexican company CAPTASOL has had the greatest number and variety of successful solar applications across all sectors. Its expertise and constant innovation has led to its position as the only Mexican company with more than a dozen invention patents pending before the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property. The company, recognised for its high-tech developments and innovation by national government and NGOs, is working towards a re-energised Mexico and a healthier planet. Website: www.roca.com Website: www.pochcorp.com Website: www.captasol.com.mx www.climateactionprogramme.org | 175 |