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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Development with less carbon
3/12/2009
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As region struggles with effects of climate change, World Bank suggests carbon output cuts.

Latin America is already feeling the effects of climate change: shrinking glaciers, changes in the rainfall patterns of southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, stronger, more intense and frequent hurricanes, and the extinction of flora and fauna.

Late last year, the World Bank evaluated the impact of climate change on this water-rich region in its report, “Low Carbon, High Growth: Latin American Responses to Climate Change.”

Latin America and the Caribbean, “the most biodiverse region in the world, has the resources and the leadership to be part of the global solution needed to move the world towards a low carbon path,” the World Bank said.

In a presentation in Lima on Feb. 17, Pablo Fajnzylber, one of the report´s authors along with John Nash and Augusto de la Torre, said that it is “highly probably that the land surface suffers a temperature increase close to 2 degrees centigrade by 2050 and up to 4 degrees centigrade by the end of this century. An increase of this magnitude has no historic precedent.”

Colombia and Peru are especially vulnerable to climate change.

The World Bank estimates that by 2050, there will be a temperature increase of between 1 and 2 degrees centigrade in Colombia´s glaciers, which will be coupled with a significant drop in precipitation, cutting down the chance for new ice and snow on the peaks.

The snow atop Andean glaciers will disappear completely by 2030 and paramos, high altitude wetlands, will disappear by 56 percent by 2050.

For Peru, the report also said that if measures are not taken to confront the effects of climate change, the glaciers, giant water regulators that feed rivers and streams in the dry season, could melt within 20 years, threatening the country´s water supply and agriculture.

Nash said Caribbean countries will see average gross domestic product loss of more than 50 percent between 2020 and 2025, compared with 10 percent in Mexico and 6 percent in Central America.

The World Bank recommended a low-carbon development, including efficient energy use, reducing deforestation, improved public transportation, low-cost, sustainable biofuels.
—Latinamerica Press.


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