In the evening, we go to meet Sebastián, a former classmate of Federico (our host in Mendoza), also ME3 student a few years ago. Sebastián works in 3 different companies: a private one and two fundations.

Quick overview of Chile

Most of the CO2 emissions in Chile are due to power generation. For this, 50% comes from fossil resources, while most of the rest comes from hydroelectricity. There are 4 separate grids in Chile (although they will be connected in the future): one in the North, one in the centre-South, and two very small in the South.

Register a project as CDM

Sebastián works on private projects, and helps them get the stamp from the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), in Latin America, mostly in Brazil and Colombia, and for renewable energy projects. It goes in three steps: developing the PDD (Project Design Document) describing the project and how the emissions are avoided, going through the validation, and getting to the registration. But now, this model is in crisis, due to the extremely low price of the CER (Certified Emission Reduction), at 0.5€ per ton of CO2eq! No project can successfully use such a little compensation.

In order to register the project, 3 filters have to be passed: the first filter is an authorization written by the government to develop the project explaining the CO2 emission reduction. The second filter is a validation by the UNFCCC of the project as CDM. The third filter is a review in details of the project, year after year! and only then can the project get the CER.

MAPS

Sebastián works in the foundation UNTEC (linked to a Chilean university) on the project MAPS. This project initiated in South Africa, and its name is an acronym standing for Mitigation Action Plan and Scenario. Here, the goal is to estimate the CO2 emissions in 2050 in Chile, in the industry of mining. Chile is not the only country studying this process, as Colombia, Peru and Mexico, in Latin America, also are making the same studies in their own country. The MAPS project is the only way to have a legitimate participation of several important actors for the mines: the government (the one with money, making investment), and many consultants (technical, power, !). In Chile, the actors of copper mining meet in this framework several times a year.

The project MAPS is now finishing, with several possible mitigation actions to reduce the emissions:

  • Reuse the potential energy (the mine is at 3000m high) of the copper, when bringing it to the port.
  • Use the heat of the furnace for cold generation

These mitigation actions need to be weighed, in terms of cost, and also of the efficiency of application.

Furthermore, there is a strong need of water for the mine. Two solutions, very expensive, are in the pipes: desalinize sea water, and then pump this fresh water up to the mine. The second one is to build a pipe from the South of Chile (where the water is available) to the North (where the mines are).

The main source of pollution in the mining industry comes from the transport. The trucks use diesel. But they have already installed a battery, because it was cost competitive, and whenever possible, they use it (charging when the cost of electricity is lower, !) in order to reduce the diesel consumption.

Change fuel in South of Chile

Sebastián works in another foundation, Chile menos CO2, (also linked with a university) to improve the fuel use at home in the South of Chile. The South of Chile is polluted, due to the burning of wood, for heating the house, using a bad wood. The wood people use by default is of low quality, still not very dry, and the furnaces they use are also old and not very efficient. The global efficiency for warming in these conditions is of 40-50%. With pellets, which are pre-processed small pieces of wood, the efficiency for heating the house goes up to 80-90%, inducing energy savings, but also money savings, and reducing the pollution (especially of the PM2.5). Also, improving the isolation of the houses could allow an energy saving of 20%. He also checks the certification of appliances and products which pretend to be carbon neutral (it starts to be a selling catch phrase here)

Kyoto

Even though Chile did not have any obligation from Kyoto protocol, the country decided voluntarily to commit itself to a reduction of 20% of CO2 emissions in 2020 with respect to the 2007 emissions.

To have CDM projects, you need to have signed Kyoto. Inside the Kyoto protocol, there was an ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) created. Later, EU decided to create its own ETS (called EU ETS).

Kyoto commitments ended in 2012, and no other agreement has been found yet between the countries, except a prolongation of Kyoto protocol till 2015, when a new meeting should decide of commitments for all the countries.

ISO Carbon Footprint

Today, there exists an ISO norm for the Carbon Footprint. But China and India are against it because they say it would affect the cost of their products.