Thursday, December 2, 2010

Climate change seen costing Central America billions of dollars

Anastasia Moloney in Relief Web via AlertNet: Climate change could cost Central America at least half its gross domestic product by the end of this century as more extreme weather, lower crop yields and water shortages are forecast in a region already prone to natural disasters, a recent United Nations report warns.

Increasing global average temperatures, rising sea levels, changes in rainfall and more frequent storms and droughts linked to climate change are already taking a heavy toll on government finances and poor rural communities across the seven countries that make up Central America.

Based on economic modelling, the study carried out by the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) aims to put a price tag on the impact of global warming in the region, based on development and carbon emissions scenarios for agriculture, water resources, intensity of hurricanes and floods, and biodiversity.

"While uncertainties exist, initial estimates for only four sectors suggest that climate change might cost the region the equivalent 54 percent of its GDP based on 2008 figures - the equivalent of $73 billion - accumulated over 90 years, from now until 2100," Julie Lennox, climate change expert and ECLAC project coordinator, told AlertNet in an interview from Mexico City.

The study estimates the potential cost for Central American governments of doing nothing or little to address the effects of climate change – the "business as usual" approach – as well as costs if governments do implement strategies to tackle the problem. The report concludes it would be more "cost effective" for states to address climate change by focusing on disaster prevention and adaptation sooner rather than later….

No comments: