Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frightening numbers for Latin America

IPS: The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean need billions of dollars to deal with the economic impact of climate change -- funding that is not easily found on the international market. A World Bank study presented Friday, the first day of a Nov. 21-23 congress of legislators from the Americas meeting in Mexico City to discuss the challenges of the global financial and climate crises, says natural disasters related to climate change, like storms, drought and flooding, cost 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the affected countries, on average, in Latin America and the Caribbean.

If the frequency of natural disasters increases from one every four years to one every three years, per capita GDP could shrink by two percent per decade in the region, according to the report presented by Laura Tuck, director of the World Bank’s department of Sustainable Development for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The economy of the Caribbean region alone could experience six billion dollars in losses by 2050 in tourism, coastal protection, and the pharmaceutical and fishing industries.

Although Latin America accounts for a small proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, the region will need to take measures for staying on a high-growth low-carbon track, Tuck said at the meeting taking place in the Mexican legislature.

A total of 77 lawmakers are taking part in the Americas Legislators' Forum on Climate Change, held under the auspices of the Mexican Congress, the World Bank, the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), the Alliance of Communicators for Sustainable Development (COM+), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is the first time politicians from the entire region have come together to discuss measures to address climate change….

Punta Arenas, Chile, outside the airplane window. Shot by Penarc, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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