Environment

  • Published on 2 November 2015 by Telesur English

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    The 33 member countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are set to agree on a joint position that for the first time ever the bloc will present at a COP climate change summit. The CELAC is meeting this week in Ecuador to discuss their position to be presented in the upcoming COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris U.N. Climate Conference, officials said Monday.

    The foreign and environment ministries of the regional organization will meet on Thursday and Friday in the Ecuadorean capital Quito, to elaborate the draft that will be presented in December in Paris, which has been billed as the most important climate summit in history. The meeting will take place at Union of South American Countries (UNASUR) headquarters.

    Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to play a very important role at the COP21, since the region has over the past years shown a strong commitment in forging very important global agreements to address climate change.

    The Bolivian city of Cochabamba last month held the Second World People’s Conference on Climate Change, during which President Evo Morales along with his colleagues from Ecuador, Rafael Correa, and Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, agreed to speak for the “Pachamama,” or Mother Earth, and civil society during the COP21 summit in Paris.

  • Published on 11 February 2016 by Granma

    solar panels

    A new solar farm under construction in the municipality of Palmira, Cienfuegos, is now 70% complete. The uninterrupted efforts from Monday through Saturday are conducted by the Works of Architecture Enterprise (ECOA-37).

    Financed by the Renewable Energy Sources Investment Company (EDIFRE), the farm will have a total of 14,400 solar panels with a generating capacity of 3.6 megawatts (MW) during the hours of highest solar radiation.

    The solar farm, at a cost of more than 10 million pesos, will have the largest generating capacity of those installed here thus far, in the municipalities of Cantarrana and Cruces. In total, these three solar farms will provide 8.2 MW to the National Electric System (SEN).

    Plans are to reach 50 MW of solar power in this province by 2030, with the construction of two further solar farms in the municipalities of Aguada de Pasajeros and Rodas, as part of the firm commitment to renewable energy in this territory.

    Meanwhile, the Cuban electric company in Pinar del Río will begin construction on a second photovoltaic power station, or solar farm, this year.

  • Cuba solar energy
    The Solar Photovoltaic Park of the Central University 'Marta Abreu' in the Las Villas province of Cuba.

    By Ben Geraghty | FRFI

    Cuba’s new constitution will incorporate articles enshrining Cuba’s commitment to sustainable development and the protection of the environment. This is a long-standing commitment of which the most recent major iteration was an announcement in 2014 that the country aims to source 24% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

    Currently about 5% of Cuba’s energy is produced by renewable sources, but there is huge potential for renewable energy development due to Cuba’s geography giving it access to a variety of biofuel sources, a windy coastline and generous amounts of sunshine. Luis Hilario Berriz Perez, president of the state enterprise Cubasolar, explains that ‘Cuba’s territory, of about 111,000 square kilometres, receives solar radiation equivalent to the energy produced by 50 million tons of oil, every day. That is, the solar radiation Cuba receives in a single day, is greater – in its energy value – than all the oil consumed in five years.’ However, there are major barriers to energy development; not least the US blockade. Cuba has been forced to look outside of the US’ sphere of influence for solutions to its energy needs.

  • Published 6 June 2017 by Granma

    Fidel’s contribution to environmental protection recognized

    Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro’s strong defense of the environment and his contribution to tackling the global challenge of climate change were recognized June 5, during the national act to mark World Environment DayComandante en Jefe Fidel Castro’s strong defense of the environment and his contribution to tackling the global challenge of climate change were recognized June 5, during the national act for World Environment Day. 

    “It is impossible to celebrate World Environment Day in Cuba without recalling the legacy of Fidel,” stated Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya, a Party Central Committee member and minister of Science, Technology and Environment (Citma), who spoke about the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution’s comprehensive approach to environmental issues, as seen in more than 50 of his public speeches, including his remarks to the Communist Party of Cuba’s 7th Congress. 
    The minister recalled how, facing an adverse international context and subjected to a cruel blockade by the U.S. government, Cuba has not only made the struggle to save the environment the focus of government policy, but has also worked with other nations in the region on this issue; above all by training human resources to tackle the effects of climate change. 
    In this regard, Pérez Montoya emphasized comprehensive efforts undertaken in the province of Sancti Spíritus to combat the drought currently affecting the country, reduce water consumption and pollution, and preserve ecosystems. 
    Comandantes de la Revolución, Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, a member of the Party Political Bureau and a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers; and Guillermo García Frías, president of the Central State Enterprise Management Organization (OSDE) for the Protection of Flora and Fauna, presided the event in Sancti Spíritus, the third to take place in the province since 2000. 
    Meanwhile, United Nations resident coordinator and Development Programme representative, Myrta Kaulard, highlighted Cuba’s willingness to undertake actions toward protecting the island’s biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems, preserving the oceans, guaranteeing drinking water for the population, and promoting renewable energy. 
    Also participating in the act were José Ramón Monteagudo Ruiz, first Party secretary in Sancti Spíritus; Inés María Chapman Waugh, president of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources, and Teresita Romero Rodriguez, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power.
    Presented during the event were National Environment Awards which went to the Villa Clara based Architecture and Engineering Enterprise; DIMARQ Design and Engineering Enterprise from Ciego de Ávila; as well as to Dr. Luis Joaquín Catasús Guerra and Comandante de la Revolución Ramiro Valdés Menéndez; while the provinces of Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus and Ciego de Ávila, were recognized for their outstanding achievements in the field.

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  • Published 24 April 2017 by Granma

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    Fully committed to the use of solar energy, one of the essential future renewable energy sources for Cuba and a basic element on the path to changing our energy system, Cienfuegos province already has four solar parks running at full capacity and is working toward completing the fifth.

    Jesús Rey Pérez Crespo, director of the Cienfuegos Electric Company, reported that the four parks have a combined generation capacity of 11.2 MW. Once the fifth park comes into operation this year, this capacity will reach 16 MW, he noted.

    The new facility, located in Yaguaramas, Abreus municipality, will be the largest of the territory up until now. It covers an area of more than seven hectares and includes 19,400 solar panels.

    Pérez Crespo explained that close to 80% of the civil construction works have been completed.

    Backed by the “Mofcom Program of nine MW” (five MW here and four in Pinar del Río), the park received a Chinese technological donation, while the Cuban side is assuming the construction and assembly phases.

    The director revealed that this year construction works will begin on a further two solar parks in Ariza, Rhodes municipality, and in Aguada de Pasajeros. Both will start operations in 2018 and with these the province will reach a total capacity of 26 MW.

    Several solar parks are to be installed in Cienfuegos up until 2030, in order to exceed 50 MW of generation capacity.

  • Published on 19 August 2015 by Granma

    Cuba recycling

    Finding value in waste, recycling, contributing to import substitution, are some of the motivations of those working at the Artemisa Company for the Recovery of Raw Materials.

    With the aim of selling recyclable waste, destined for the domestic industry and exports, the mission for the entity this year is to recover over 13,600 tons of raw materials. In the first half of the year, targets have been surpassed, with sales up 20% over plans.

    “We process 16 products, which we divide between ferrous, non-ferrous and metal recyclable scraps; scrap steel and cast iron are the leaders,” Andrés Ayllón, deputy manager, highlights.

    Rum and beer bottles, paper, cardboard, aluminum, copper, sacks, medicine bottles, lead batteries, scrap steeland cast iron, are the recyclables destined for the domestic industry, among others.

    Meanwhile, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze and electronic scraps are destined for export, marketed by the Equipment Dismantling Company.

    “We search out the added value - mainly bronze, paper and cardboard, plastic, and copper, according to classification, among other things, that is, we buy, process, classify and, in certain cases, we press,” comments Ayllón.

  • Published on 1 January 2016 by Counterpunch

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    The National Assembly of Venezuela, in its final session before a neoliberal dominated opposition takes the helm of legislative power on January 5, passed one of the most progressive seed laws in the world on December 23, 2015; it was promptly signed into law by President Nicolas Maduro. On December 29, during his television show, “In Contact with Maduro, number 52,” Maduro said that the new seed law provides the conditions to produce food “under an agro-ecological model that respects the pacha mama (mother earth) and the right of our children to grow up healthy, eating healthy.” The law is a victory for the international movements for agroecology and food sovereignty because it bans transgenic (GMO) seed while protecting local seed from privatization. The law is also a product of direct participatory democracy –the people as legislator– in Venezuela, because it was hammered out through a deliberative partnership between members of the country’s National Assembly and a broad-based grassroots coalition of eco-socialist, peasant, and agroecological oriented organizations and institutions. This essay provides an overview of the phenomenon of people as legislator, a summary of the new Seed Law, and an appendix with an unofficial translation of some of the articles of the law.