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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Developing Credible Data on Air Quality

Good policy depends on good data. As cities and countries in the Americas tackle the problem of air pollution—a growing public health concern—they rely on air quality monitoring systems to measure how they’re doing. Through workshops co-sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS), experts who operate such systems throughout the region are strengthening their expertise and cooperation to ensure that those results are accurate, reliable, and credible. That’s especially important when air pollution reaches a crisis point—as it did in Mexico City in May of this year.
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Taking Electric Vehicles to a Higher Gear

Clean sources of electricity and predominantly urban populations make Latin America promising terrain for electric cars and buses. But so far, electric vehicles have picked up speed in only a few countries. Two upcoming events will discuss the potential for smarter, more sustainable transportation in the region and look at some of the roadblocks that still stand in the way. One problem? Consumers don’t have enough choices.
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Bahamas Reeling from Dorian

The Bahamas has experienced many powerful storms over the years—even Category 5 hurricanes—but Dorian brought a new level of devastation. As search, rescue, and recovery operations were just getting underway, a Bahamian diplomat to the Organization of American States (OAS) reflected on the impact of the storm and the challenges ahead.
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Monday, August 12, 2019

The Sargassum Opportunity

The tons of sargassum drifting ashore in the Caribbean in recent years have created big headaches for the tourism and fishing industries, but some entrepreneurs in the region see opportunity. That was the case with Johanan Dujon, who first noticed—and smelled—the piles of seaweed as he was driving along Saint Lucia’s east coast five years ago, when he was 21. “Why isn’t anybody doing anything?” he kept asking himself. The question eventually drove him to start a business.
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Monday, August 12, 2019

The Sargassum Scourge

Say you’re settling in for a day at the beach: Sunblock? Check. Towels? Check. A good book? Check. Maybe some cold drinks, your favorite tunes, a lounge chair and umbrella? Perfect. Giant mounds of stinking seaweed? Not so much. But that’s the nasty surprise many beachgoers have encountered in recent years, as massive clusters of a brown macroalgae called sargassum have washed up on shore. Scientists point to a range of environmental factors as the possible culprit, and some think the seaweed invasion could mark a “new normal.”
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Going Green at the OAS

Buildings are energy hogs. And when they date back more than a century, they have an especially voracious appetite for electricity, water, air conditioning, and heat. Mindful of the need both to be green and to save greenbacks, the Organization of American States (OAS) is working to cut energy use at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.—including in its famed House of the Americas.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Solar Power at the OAS Guyana Country Office

At the OAS country office in Georgetown, Guyana, air conditioning is a year-round necessity that accounts for a large part of an electric bill of close to $300 per month.
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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Bright Ideas for More Efficient Lighting

Street lighting can increase the safety and enhance the appeal of a neighborhood or city center—but it can also drive up energy use and carbon emissions. Governments around the world are adopting strict lighting standards to promote maximum efficiency and incorporate the latest technologies. The eight countries in the Central American Integration System (SICA) are now in the process of developing such standards, with support from the Organization of American States (OAS). (Photo: Puerto Morelos)
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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Powering Critical Infrastructure through Microgrids

Massive hurricanes in 2017 turned out the lights in Puerto Rico and several other Caribbean islands—in some cases, for months—and sparked a conversation about energy security and resilience that continues today, in the hurricane belt and beyond. Increasingly, decision-makers are looking at developing microgrids to power the most critical infrastructure and services in the event the electrical grid goes down. But what makes something critical? Most people would probably put a hospital first in line for backup electricity, but what about after that? (Photo: Tesla)
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Friday, May 3, 2019

New Mexico Goes All In on Clean Energy

With a new law mandating a full transition to a zero-carbon power grid by 2045, New Mexico has become one of a handful of U.S. states driving the national conversation on clean energy. Ending coal-fired power generation in New Mexico will bring clear benefits—cutting carbon emissions, improving air quality, lowering electricity rates—but it will also come with some economic pain. The Energy Transition Act aims to ease the effects of the shift from coal, both for electric utilities and for workers, while positioning the state to develop good jobs in the renewable energy sector.
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