The Risk of Neoliberal Glaciers

Mark Carey

in In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195396065
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199775682 | DOI:
 						The Risk of Neoliberal Glaciers

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Neoliberal reforms during the 1990s transformed natural resource access and environmental management worldwide. In Peru, hydroelectricity privatization allowed Duke Energy to consolidate control over the Cañón del Pato facility on the Santa River, which is fed largely by Cordillera Blanca glacier runoff. Once Duke Energy Egenor began management in 1997, the state's hydroelectric company, Electroperú, ended its glacier monitoring and glacial lake engineering programs. This was the first break in continuous glacier disaster prevention programs since 1951. Neoliberal privatization thus heightened climate change vulnerability while simultaneously making Duke Energy a major but highly contested stakeholder in the Santa River waterscape that extended up to Cordillera Blanca glaciers. Meanwhile, threats from glacier retreat and the 1997 El Niño event continued. In 2003, fears of another glacial lake outburst flood at Lake Palcacocha above Huaraz spurred government programs to manage glacier hazards and bolstered popular protests against Duke Energy.

Keywords: Cañón del Pato; climate change vulnerability; disaster prevention; Duke Energy Egenor; glacier hazards; Huaraz; Lake Palcacocha; neoliberal privatization; Santa River; waterscape

Chapter.  9243 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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