San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Panama Canal aims to go carbon neutral in 2014

The Panama Canal plans to offset their emissions of greenhouse gases and become “carbon neutral” beginning in 2014, German Alberto Zubieta, the administrator of the waterway, announced Tuesday.

The announcement was made during the “Panama: Where the World Meets,” a conference and advertising campaign held this week and designed to promote investment in Central America’s southernmost country.

 Zubieta said there are plans to reforest 20,000 hectares of plants near the Panama Canal to offset carbon dioxide emissions. The Panama Canal Authority is working with Panama’s private sector and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute “to gauge the effect of planting trees native and nonnative to the area,” he said.

The World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011” rated Panama the second most competitive economy in Latin America. Panama is expected to nearly double its Gross Domestic Product between 2009 and 2010, and the International Monetary Fund projects that Panama will have the fastest growing economy in Latin America by 2015.

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