HAVANNA, July 5. Droughts, cyclones, melting glaciers, and forest fires are worsening in Latin America and the Caribbean, fueling a “vicious circle” that accelerates global warming in an area especially vulnerable to the climate crisis, the Organization warned on Wednesday. World Meteorology (WMO).
The entity, part of the United Nations (UN) family, presented this Wednesday in Havana its report “The state of the climate in Latin America and the Caribbean,” in which it highlights that “extreme weather phenomena and climatic shocks are worsening” in the region.
This is accelerating “the long-term warming trend and sea level rise.” According to WMO records, temperatures in the region have increased by an average of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade in the last 30 years, the highest rate recorded globally.
According to the WMO, the climate crisis (and recently also the La Niña phenomenon) is fueling prolonged droughts – which lead to a decrease in hydroelectric production and an increase in the use of fossil fuels, worse harvests and “unprecedented” forest fires -, the melting of the region’s glaciers, and cyclones and torrential rains – which cause flooding with serious personal and material damage.
In addition, “increasing sea level rise and warming oceans pose increasing risks to coastal livelihoods, ecosystems and economies,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri said in a statement. Taalas.
The report “highlights the vicious cycle of increasing impacts on countries and local communities” from global warming, the WMO argues.
ALMOST 80 DANGERS IN 2022
Specifically, last year this organization registered “78 meteorological, hydrological and climatic hazards” in Latin America and the Caribbean.
These were mainly storms and flooding, but there were also hurricanes, droughts and wildfires that left at least 1,153 documented fatalities and economic damage worth at least $9 billion.
The report highlights the damage caused in 2022 by hurricanes Iona, Lisa and Ian, the rains in the Brazilian Petropolis (with 230 deaths), the drought in the Paraná-Plata basin (the worst since 1944), the 14-year mega-drought in Chile and the forest fires in Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile (with the CO2 emissions they entail).
In the opinion of the WMO, Latin Americans and the Caribbean must be more aware of the risks related to climate and the governments of the region must take measures so that “early warning systems are strengthened and reach the communities that need them most,” since now they only cover less than two-thirds of the population.
AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND ENERGY
Faced with this situation, this specialized agency of the UN proposes to influence “the main priority areas” of adaptation to the climate crisis and mitigation of its effects: agriculture, food security and energy (with special emphasis on the expansion of renewable).
“There is the possibility of taking advantage of the region’s solar and wind resources, which in 2020 represented only 16% of the total generation of renewable energies,” and most of them come from hydroelectric, says the WMO report.
Regarding food security, the document warns that Latin America and the Caribbean play “a fundamental role in food production” because they have around 8% of their population “undernourished” and export part of their agricultural and livestock production. abroad.
Likewise, the report highlights that the region is “very vulnerable to climate risks” since about three-quarters of its population, estimated at about 700 million people, lives in “informal urban settlements.”
This is the third annual WMO report on the effects of global warming in Latin America and the Caribbean, a document that aims to provide decision-makers in the countries of the region with regional and local information on which to base their policies.