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Chile has undergone an energy revolution that has changed the country's climate and energy policy. In 2013 large coal and hydro projects were in line, which were ultimately shelved and replaced with plentiful and economic renewable energy. In 2021, 24% of all energy in the country came from solar and wind energy. There is a consensus that Chile's net zero target will spur more growth and investment than the status quo. The talk will explore how these changes occurred, and how smart and integral regulations on air pollution, carbon pricing, and social unrest shifted the tide to a country that wants to transform its extractive economy into a renewable economy.
Marcelo Mena is a scientist and professor turned activist and policymaker. He is the CEO of the Methane Hub, a 330 million dollar philanthropic initiative to reduce global methane emissions. He is also the Director of the Climate Action Center at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV). Previously he was the practice manager in climate research at the World Bank and the former vice minister and minister of the environment for Chile under President Bachelet from 2014 to 2018. He spearheaded multiple environmental initiatives such as taxes on new car sales and power generation based on local and global air pollution -- the first of their kinds globally. He helped craft a landmark agreement to phase out coal power generation, create 45 thousand square kilometers of national parks, protect 1.3 million square kilometers of ocean and institute the first national plastic bag ban in the Americas.