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  • Temas Reading List: Climate Change

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    World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). Brazil Low-carbon Country Case Study. Published by World Bank Group. English. 2010. 286 pp.

    This report by ESMAP seeks to identify ways to reduce Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions without seriously compromising its development efforts. The Bank proposes a low-carbon scenario that would represent a 37% reduction in gross GHG emissions compared to the reference scenario over the 2010–30 period, accomplished primarily through reducing deforestation and increasing carbon uptake. The main drivers would be (i) reduction of total land area needed, via significant gains in livestock productivity, to accommodate expanded agriculture and meat production and (ii) restoration of legal forest reserves and production forests for producing renewable charcoal for the steel industry. The study suggests that reducing GHG emissions significantly in the energy and transport sectors would be difficult sine Brazil’s emissions in both are already low by international standards, due primarily to the use of hydroelectricity for power generation and bioethanol as vehicle fuel.


    UN Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The Economics of Climate Change in Central America: Summary 2010. Published by ECLAC. English. Spanish. 2010. 144 pp.

    This report provides an initial assessment of the potential economic and social impacts of climate change through 2100 on seven countries — Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama — and and the region as a whole, but also on key sectors, such as agriculture, water resources, energy and biodiversity. The report is part of the “economics of climate change in Central America” series of studies launched in 2009 by ECLAC in cooperation with the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), the Secretariat of the Central American Economic Integration System (SIECA), and the Ministries of Environment and Finance of the countries involved. The report concludes that, by 2100, climate change could cost Central America as a whole as much as US$73 billion, or 54% of the region’s GDP in 2008 at present net value.


    Marengo, José A, et. al. Mudanças climáticas globais e seus efeitos sobre a biodiversidade: caracterização do clima atual e definição das alterações climáticas para o território brasileiro ao longo do século XXI. Published by the Brazilian Environment Ministry (MMA). Portuguese. 2007. 212 pp.

    A summary of eight country-focused studies — a main overview study and seven specialized studies — coordinated by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Studies (INPE) that offer a profile of Brazil’s current climate and notable changes already underway, and projections in how global climate change will alter it through 2100. The main study focused on rainfall, temperature, river flows, and climate extremes (such as droughts or intense rains) in four key zones — Amazonia, the Pantanal, the Northeast and the South’s Paraná-Plate River Basin. The studies offer some more clues as to how climate change might disrupt and adversely impact South America’s biggest economy. While generally more reserved than the global IPCC reports, the Brazilian studies raise significant concerns about temperature and rainfall shifts, loss of forest cover, desertification in the NE, major dangers to the wetlands of the Pantanal, sea level rise impacts, public health impacts from more widespread insect- and water-borne disease, more extreme climatic events and disruptions to agricultural cycles and to the migratory/reproductive cycles of species in Brazil.


    Neeff, Till, and Henders, Sabine. Guidebook to Markets and Commercialization of Forestry CDM Projects. 2007. Published by the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE). English. 42 pp.

    The Guidebook was developed by the FORMA project, a joint effort by a consortium of institutions supporting the development of afforestation/reforestation and bioenergy projects in the context of the CDM in Latin America. It provides an overview of forestry projects meeting clean development mechanism (CDM) criteria under the Kyoto Protocol, a description of available carbon markets, and recommendations to the project developer. It is based on in-depth interviews with key market actors, a review of secondary information, and on a survey among market actors. A section is dedicated to the procedures for commercialization of carbon credits and analyzes buyers’ preferences, and project success criteria. Last but not least, the guidebook recommends strategies for carbon credit commercialization. Project developers are provided with a checklist for evaluating concrete initiatives against the data and the insights that this guidebook compiles.


    Dasgupta, Susmita, et. al. The Impact of Sea Level Rise on Developing Countries: A Comparative Analysis. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4136. English. 2007. 51 pp.

    Examines how the expected rise in sea level (SLR) caused by global climate change might affect the 84 coastal developing countries among the World Bank’s membership. Twenty-five of these are from LAC. For each country and region, the authors looked at SLR impact along a scale of 1 to 5 meters on six factors: land; population; gross domestic product (GDP); urban extent; agricultural extent; wetlands. The paper reveals significant across-the-board impacts for several Caribbean nations (the Bahamas is rated as one of the countries most at risk in the world) and on wetlands for most of the LAC nations, and specific vulnerabilities for a handful (such as agriculture for Argentina and Jamaica).

    For a more complete discussion of this report, see the Temas Blog review.


    Departamento de Geofísica, Facultad de Ciencias. Físicas y Matemáticas, Universidad de Chile. Estudio de la Variabilidad Climática en Chile para el Siglo XXI. 2006. Spanish. 71 pp.

    This is the principal climate change impact study for Chile commissioned by the National Environment Council (CONAMA). It finds that little risk for Chile from sea-level rise associated with climate change, and temperature and precipitation changes will vary by region and season. The most worrisome combined impact, however, may be water shortages in the main population and agriculture zones.

    For a more complete discussion of this report, see the Temas Blog review.


    Working Group on Climate Change. Up in Smoke. 2006. English or Spanish. 48 pp.

    Report by 20 NGOs which tries to catalog current manifestations in 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. Much of it is based on studies and workshops sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    For a more complete discussion of this report, see the Temas Blog review.


    Nagy et al. Understanding the potential Impact of Climate Change and Variability in Latin America and the Caribbean. 2006. English. 34 pp.

    This is one of the many background papers commissioned by HM Treasury for Sir Nicholas Stern’s famous review of the economics of climate change, and the only one to focus on LAC. Most of the paper’s discussion of probable adverse impacts will not surprise those who have read the “Up in Smoke” report. The difference here is that the Nagy paper attempts to calculate the potential costs and benefits, points out areas (such as the cost of natural disasters on human capital) where further work on cost estimates is needed, and discusses probable economic constraints to adaptation strategies.

    For a more complete discussion of this report, see the Temas Blog review


    Eguren C., Lorenzo. El mercado de carbono en América Latina y el Caribe: balance y perspectivas. ECLAC/CEPAL series Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo, No. 83. 2004. Spanish. 85pp.

    Latin America has fast become one of the most active markets for greenhouse gas emission reduction credits under the Kyoto Protocol. This report examines the current status and prospects for the carbon market in the region, including an examination of the institutional mechanisms involved in getting “clean development mechanism” projects approved and remaining barriers to developing more such projects in the region.


    Agrawala, Shardul, et. al. Development and Climate Change in Uruguay: Focus on Coastal Zones, Agriculture and Forestry. Published by the OECD. English. 2004. 72pp.

    This report is the outcome of a case study for Uruguay carried out under an OECD project on Development and Climate Change. The report attacks the subject from three angles. First, it examines recent climate trends and climate change scenarios for Uruguay, identifies key sectoral impacts and ranks them along multiple indicators to establish priorities for adaptation. Second, it analyzes donor portfolios to determine the proportion of development assistance activities affected by climate risk. Third, it conducts an in-depth analysis for adaptation in coastal zones as well as for mainstreaming carbon-sequestration within the agriculture and forestry sectors.


    Dessus, Sébastien, & O’Connor, David. “Climate Policy Without Tears: CGE-Based Ancilliary Benefits Estimates for Chile.” OECD Development Centre Working Paper No. 156. English. 1999. 46 pp.

    An attempt to quantify the economic benefits a developing country like Chile can gain by limiting the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.


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