In the midst of a recent drought, largely attributed to global warming, Argentina has suffered an economic setback to the tune of approximately $20 billion.
The Latin American Toll of Climate Change
A recent report by the World Bank underscores this economic impact on Argentina as just a glimpse into how climate change is affecting Latin America. This region has been the epicenter of one-third of the world’s natural disasters, with a death toll reaching 150,000 annually.
Experts from the United Nations Health Agency, during a conference at the Barcelona Convention Center, underscored the gravity of the situation. This venue is set to finalize preparations for the forthcoming Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen.
A Global Outlook
The objective is to achieve a global consensus aimed at reducing pollution, thereby combatting the planet’s extreme reactions to relentless human interference.
Caritas, a Catholic organization, urges developed nations to ensure that funds earmarked for combating the effects of climate change aren’t sidetracked from addressing other urgent issues, like poverty.
Natural Disasters: A Global Reality
While regions like Asia grapple with tsunamis, extreme droughts, and subsequent famines, Latin America is not far behind. The area experiences 30% of these devastating events. Incidences of floods and droughts have intensified due to the El Niño phenomenon, particularly impacting countries like Argentina and Chile.
According to data from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the number of natural disasters and those affected has doubled in the past two decades. Projections suggest that, in the coming five decades, 250 million individuals might be displaced due to climatic changes. Moreover, the previous year witnessed over 300,000 global fatalities owing to natural catastrophes, predominantly affecting the most vulnerable.
Economy and Climate Change
A World Bank report posits that investing one dollar in disaster prevention measures can save up to seven dollars in subsequent costs. Nonetheless, political indecision often hampers such investments.
Caritas and the United Nations urge developed nations to prevent the redirection of development assistance funds towards carbon emission reduction projects.
A pivotal point of the Barcelona discussions is determining the financial commitment developed nations will pledge to support the rest of the world in adapting to the inevitable climatic shifts and in curtailing carbon emissions.
While consensus remains elusive, proposals exist, such as the European Union’s potential annual contribution of between 15 to 22 billion euros.
This report is adapted from the original written by Cledis Candelaresi and published in Pagina 12, Argentina.