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Climate change threatens Latin America and the Caribbean


29 Aug 2006 - London, UK – As the United States marks the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina today, a new report from a coalition of the UK’s biggest environment and development groups, including WWF, focuses on the impact that extreme weather and climate change are having on the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

The report, Up in Smoke? Latin America and the Caribbean, catalogues the impact of climate change and environmental degradation, confirming that largely regular and predictable temperature and rainfall patterns are changing, becoming less predictable and often more extreme.

“Climate change impacts are being felt across Latin America, ranging from drought in the Amazon to floods in Haiti, from vanishing glaciers in Colombia to hurricanes, not only in Central America but even in southern Brazil,” said Giulio Volpi, WWF’s Climate Change Coordinator for Latin America. “Across the region the capacity of natural ecosystems to act as buffers against extreme weather events is being undermined, leaving people more vulnerable"

According to the report, climate change will have major economic impacts on fisheries, coral reefs, tourism, water availability and agriculture, and could increase the impacts of already serious chronic malnutrition affecting a large sector of the Latin American population.

“Global warming is already affecting Latin America and the Caribbean, threatening disastrous impacts on nature and people, particularly on poor communities,” added Volpi. “Latin American leaders must do their fair share to fight climate change.”

In particular, the report calls on Latin American governments to prevent climate altering emissions by committing to a solid set of policies to reduce climate vulnerability in the short, medium and long-terms, as well as launch an ambitious climate change initiative boosting both energy efficiency and renewable energy and halting deforestation, to meet energy, environmental and climate security.


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