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    A Sobering Look at Climate Change’s Probable Impact on the Region

    By Keith R | September 11, 2006

    Topics: Climate Change | 1 Comment »

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    Climate Change's Impact on Latin America and the CaribbeanA collection of 20 environment and development nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)* calling themselves the Working Group on Climate Change and Development recently released a report trying to catalog current manifestations in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) of global climate change and look at probable future impacts thereof. Whether or not you wholly agree with their methodology, conclusions or recommendations, it is thought-provoking read that a broad audience in the region, and those concerned with the region, should take a look at — not just policymakers, NGOs and community leaders, but also those involved in sectors which will be heavily impacted by climate change, such as tourism, transport, logistics, real estate and insurance.

    “Up in Smoke” is the first report to focus in on impacts specific to the LAC region and on the need for its nations to develop adaptation strategies. Other reports, studies and position papers may follow, but this one opens the debate. For that reason, I am adding it to the Temas reading list.

    To download the PDF version of the report in English, click here; in Spanish, click here.

    Much of the report appears to be based on studies done for, and workshops sponsored by, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) [for the report of one such workshop, clink this link], plus information gleaned from broader studies done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), World Health Organization (WHO), etc.

    The report cautions that the region’s diversity makes modeling climate change impacts for it difficult. It also acknowledges that

    …with or without global warming, extreme weather is a problem for the people of the region. For many people, however, climate change is set to turn an already rough ride into an impossible one.

    Probable Regional Impacts of Climate Change

    I won’t repeat here all the findings (I hear some of you breathing a sigh of relief!), but I’d like to bullet-list a few I think those who in LAC nations who write policy, and those who try to influence its shape, should ponder:

    The Report’s Policy & Planning Recommendations for LAC Anticipation of, and Adaptation to, Climate Change

    Some Recommendations for Coping MeasuresThe report makes a number of recommendations. These include the predictable call for “rich countries” to meet and exceed their Kyoto Protocol commitments, to facilitate technology transfer and to give more funds to LAC nations to prepare and implement adaptation strategies. Others include:

    One of the more eyebrow raising recommendations is an abandonment of “dogmatic” adhesion to water privatization. The report suggests that this could somehow “easily increase the vulnerability of millions of people in the region” to water supply access. This contention, though, is not well-supported in the report, in my opinion.

    — Keith R

    * ActionAid, Bird Life International, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Christian Aid, Columban Faith and Justice, Friends of the Earth (FoE), Greenpeace, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), MedAct, the New Economics Foundation (NEF), Operation Noah, Panos, People & Planet, Practical Action (formerly ITDG), Progressio (formerly CIIR), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Tearfund, The Energy & Resources Institute, Europe (teri Europe), WWF, World Vision International

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    One Response to “A Sobering Look at Climate Change’s Probable Impact on the Region”

    1. Carlos Rymer Says:

      How can we let policy-makers in LAC that climate change will be impacting them. Can’t these countries get together and urge the U.S. to join them in reducing emissions by 80% by 2050? How can we, without wide popular, vocal support in LAC, push these countries to begin reducing emissions and preparing for worsening effects?


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