The climate and development challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean: options for climate-resilient, low-carbon development

The climate and development challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean: options for climate-resilient, low-carbon development

Comprehensive report assessing the physical and economic impacts of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This comprehensive report by the Inter-American Development Bank seeks to assess the physical and economic impacts of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), as well as adaptation options available. Additionally, the report examines how, and at what cost, the region can reduce its carbon footprint to a level consistent with global stabilisation goals. Chapter one looks at the various climate impacts that are likely to occur, including: warming, changing rainfall patterns and a reduction in soil-moisture impacting agriculture; coastal and marine zones affected by rising sea-levels; increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather; spread of vector diseases and other health-related impacts; changes in hydrology; and potential rainforest dieback. Chapter two provides a current emissions and trends profile for key sectors, projections of a ‘business as usual’ scenario, and the financial costs of intervention. Finally, development cobenefits from adaptation and mitigation are discussed, with numerous examples provided and broken down by sector. Among the extensive research and analysis, some key conclusions and recommendations emerge: (1) The physical and natural damage to LAC associated with a now almost certain 2°C rise in temperatures are expected to be substantial. Key impacts will be felt in a partial collapse of the Caribbean coral biome, the disappearance of glaciers under 5000m, and a degree of savannisation in the Amazon basin. (2) Economic impacts in LAC will be significant, conservatively estimated to be $100b annually by 2050. Rapid adaptation efforts could significantly mitigate future economic costs, though not all losses in natural capital. (3) Global mitigation actions are essential to prevent greater damage, since LAC itself seems to have decoupled economic growth from that of carbon emissions (11 per cent down from 2000 levels). (4) Despite this, a ‘business as usual’ trajectory would lead to annual emissions five-times the level required as part of global climate stabilisation goals by 2050. This means significant mitigation efforts are needed across all sectors. (5) Adaptation and mitigation generate significant development cobenefits, though these are not sufficiently understood to guarantee to removals of barriers to action.

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