Climate change in Latin America

20Aug07

A new report out this weekend details the effects of climate change on Latin America and the Caribbean. “A Conversation on Conservation: Contemplating the Impact of Climate Change in the Latin America-Caribbean Region” by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs is a good summary of the devastation global warming will cause in the poorest countries, though it doesn’t contain anything radically new.

 

It does, though, contain examples of countries which are striving to do something about global warming, instead of talking about it, and highlights how rich countries are using the World Bank’s Clean Development Mechanism to avoid stopping their growth driven madness.

 

The impacts of climate change on Nicaragua have become apparent by now: a likely increase in the cycle of El Nino, which causes drought on the Pacific Coast and effects agriculture; a general raised temperature which will dry out the rainforests on the Caribbean Coast, decreasing bio-diversity and making them vulnerable to destruction by forest fires; and an increase of the danger of catastrophic hurricanes, which are increasing in strength and frequency.

 

This last conclusion was further enforced by a report out last week from the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research. It says that the average number of storms that develop in the Atlantic has doubled since 1905, and they make the link between this and the increase in sea surface temperature caused by global warming. The devastation of storms like Hurricane Mitch might increase from being a once in a lifetime event, to being once in a generation or even more frequently, with unthinkable consequences for the poorest in Nicaragua.

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