From committing to clean power generation and a more sustainable public transport system to reducing plastic waste, Chile is a regional leader in initiatives intended to protect the environment.
No more plastics: Chile was the first country in Latin America to prohibit single-use plastics, as well as the handing out of plastic bags in shops and supermarkets. These measures will reduce the presence of this material in everyday life, diminish plastic waste and incentivize both recycling and the circular economy. This effort has great implications, since fast-food and delivery businesses in Chile generate 23,240 tons of single-use plastic per year, equivalent to five Olympic swimming pools full of waste, according to a study by Oceana and Plastic Oceans.
Carbon neutral by 2050: Chile has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, meaning that its emissions of greenhouse gases – responsible for climate change – will be equal to or less than the absorption of those gases by nature. One of the main pillars for achieving this goal consists in moving to a clean power matrix and abandoning the use of fossil fuels. To do this, Chile has decided to gradually close all its coal-fired power stations, while increasing the construction of non-conventional renewable power plants. Chile’s privileged geography has already led to the construction of Cerro Dominador, the first solar thermal power plant in Latin America; while the Horizonte plant, currently under construction and due to open shortly, will be the largest wind-powered plant in the region. These are two examples of how wind and sun can help us to look after the environment and improve people’s quality of life.
Electromobility: Chile is looking to implement a sustainable public transport system. The Transport Ministry recently recently announced that 107 new electric buses will come into operation in the streets of Santiago in the third quarter of this year. This new addition will increase the electric fleet in the system by 13%, bringing the number of zero-emissions buses to 883. These figures make Santiago the city with the second-largest number of electric buses in the world, excluding Chinese cities, and put Chile in lead position in the region.
Protecting the oceans: Today, Chile has ten marine parks and five marine reserves, translating into a total of nearly 1,500,000 km2 with official protection. This figure represents more than 40% of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), earning Chile the recognition of the international community. Furthermore, Chile forms part of a series of international alliances aimed at protecting the oceans, including the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the promotion of international projects to give greater protection to the world’s oceans.
Framework Law on Climate Change: This law institutionalizes the fight against climate change as a state policy, implying that ecological considerations will form part of the decisions taken by all ministries. The law establishes making the country carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest as a national goal, with a review every five years to determine whether the objective can be brought forward. It also establishes the goal of making the country climate-resilient, i.e. that it will be able to adapt to the effects of climate change in its territories. The object is to achieve development consistent with taking care of nature.
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