Chile’s New President, Gabriel Boric, Is Pushing for Environmental Change

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Dec. 20 2021, Published 12:10 p.m. ET

Gabriel Boric
Source: Getty Images

A winner has finally been selected in Chile's most recent presidential election, and it seems as though he will leave a long-lasting positive impact on the South American Country. At 35 years old, Chile's new president, Gabriel Boric, is the country's youngest in history, and he has been described as a "leftist millennial." He's promised his mostly young supporters a more equal and ecological future, which many hope will result in some major changes.

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Among many things, Boric is looking to undo what former dictator, Augusto Pinochet, did during his previous rule — economically, socially, and environmentally.

“Chile was the birthplace of neoliberalism, and it shall also be its grave!” he announced earlier this year upon winning the primaries, as per The Guardian. “I know that history doesn’t begin with us."

Boric continued:

“I feel like an inheritor of the long trajectory of those who, from different places, have tirelessly sought social justice."

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Chile President
Source: Getty Images

Who is Gabriel Boric?

As previously mentioned, Boric is a 35-year-old leftist politician who rose up in the world of activism during Chilean anti-government protests, according to Newsweek. He was born in the country's southern city of Punta Arenas in 1986, and pursued a law degree at the University of Chile. During his senior year, he started leading protests for the Federation of Students, which demanded education reform and economic change. He never received his law degree, but continued pursuing activism.

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Boric decided to run in 2013 as an Independent candidate, and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. But three years later in 2016, he created a party called the Broad Front. Now, he's running under yet another self-founded party called the Autonomist Movement, which looks to change the Chilean constitution in the name of socialism. Boric hopes to rewrite the Constitution in 2022, which was inherited from the previous dictatorship in 2020, from former dictator, Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.

"I am going to be the president of all Chileans," Boric stated during a televised appearance, as per Newsweek. "I am going to do my best to get on top of this tremendous challenge."

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President Chile
Source: Getty Images

What are Gabriel Boric's environmental policies?

In addition to effectively rewriting the country's entire constitution, Boric is hoping to address serious economic gaps, by reforming the country's pension and health care systems, according to The BBC. He is also looking to reduce the work week to 40 hours a week from 45, and plans to invest quite a bit more in the environment — specifically to curb climate change.

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Climate change is at the forefront of Boric's policies — specifically regarding water supplies. According to BN Americas, Boric plans to invest in "mitigation and adaptation." He's creating a fund for water security, and plans to set aside water for smaller agricultural businesses. He's also looking to fund coastal defenses, to combat issues such as flooding and erosion, and to put more money in wastewater treatment systems.

Boric also plans to transition to cleaner means of energy. The new president is aiming for Chile to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. He also wants to shut down coal-fired plants, close mines, and launch a national hydrogen green strategy.

He has also proposed to expand the rail system and install 500MW of renewable energy. Needless to say, we hope to see all of these promises come to fruition.

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