A Warning Bell for the Planet

Latin America, a region of extraordinary biodiversity, is witnessing the severe consequences of climate change.

Brazil, in particular, has recently faced catastrophic events: the south has suffered devastating floods, with over 147 victims and 600,000 displaced, while the Amazon has endured the worst drought in its history, exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon.

To delve deeper into the effects of climate change on Latin America and induced migration, one can consult an article by Duke Today.

In Brazil, the floods in the State of Rio Grande do Sul have required significant investments for reconstruction and assistance to the affected populations.

The famine in Amazonas has impacted 600,000 people, exacerbated by fires and deforestation that threaten the Amazon Rainforest, the Planet’s “green lung”.

Under the presidency of Lula da Silva, there has been a slowdown in these illegal practices.

A report by UNFCCC News provides details on the impacts of climate change in the region.

In Venezuela, the last glacier, La Corona, is now too small to be classified as such.

Despite attempts to preserve it with thermal blankets, its disappearance seems inevitable.

This symbolizes the region’s vulnerability in the face of global warming.

Colombia faces high risks due to climate change, with glacier retreat and extreme rainfall causing water scarcity, flooding, and landslides (World Resources Institute).

Additionally, the country has seen a doubling in the frequency of floods and landslides in recent years, affecting access to basic services and the economy.

Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and is facing climate-related natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and landslides.

The effect of the El Niño Southern Oscillation on the frequency and severity of extreme events is amplified by climate change. (USAID)

Moreover, the country has experienced a significant reduction in glacier mass since 1962, raising concerns about future water availability and increasing the risk of natural disasters.

Chile is experiencing the “Central Chilean Mega-Drought,” the longest in the last thousand years. (United Nations Climate Change – UNCC)

This has significant repercussions on water supplies and agriculture.

Mexico and Central America have been hit by devastating tropical storms, with torrential rains causing floods and landslides.

Mexico in particular is facing drought conditions that could be intensified by the current strong El Niño.(WWF)

Argentina and Paraguay: They have recorded exceptionally high temperatures and severe droughts, leading to record-breaking wildfires.

A report by the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Union has described the drought situation that has been affecting the Paranà-La Plata basin, which extends between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia, for four years.

This phenomenon has had significant impacts in environmental, energy and economic terms.

Ecuador is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events, like the flooding associated with the El Niño phenomenon, which have led to significant economic and social losses. (World Bank)

The Government is developing a national climate change adaptation plan to reduce climate vulnerabilities in priority sectors such as health, human settlements and production sectors. (UNHCR)

In Panama, the Guna Yala ethnic group is among the first indigenous communities forced to abandon their homes due to rising sea levels, a symbol of a global threat that requires immediate and decisive action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Human Rights Watch has reported on the situation, highlighting the challenges faced by the community in addressing the threat of climate change.

Not to mention the Countries and Islands of the Caribbean which are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to their geographical location and nature.

The region faces significant challenges such as rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and more frequent and intense storms.

These changes threaten the very existence of some Caribbean Nations, with impacts on infrastructure, economies, and ecosystems.

Climate change not only alters ecosystems but also deeply affects the lives of indigenous communities and the poorest, who depend on nature for survival.

The World Bank predicts that extreme poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean could increase by 300% by 2030 due to climate impacts.

These include reduced working hours, increased healthcare expenses, and decreased food availability.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) highlighted the dual impact of El Niño and long-term climate change on the region in 2023.

The situation is also critical for public health, with diseases like Dengue and Zika spreading more easily due to the drier climate.

Indigenous communities, often discriminated against, are at the forefront of environmental defense, paying a high price for their commitment.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on the energy sector and agriculture.

These disasters, while seemingly confined to the American Continent, actually have a significant global impact.

Not only due to the potential damage to the Amazon Rainforest, which is often described as the ‘lungs of the world’ for its critical role in oxygen production and CO2 absorption, but also due to their economic and social repercussions that transcend national borders.

For instance, economic losses from natural disasters in 2023 saw 44% coming from the Americas, despite only 12% of the affected people living in those regions. (Statista)

This underscores how events in one part of the world can influence the economy and well-being of people across the globe.

For further information on natural disasters and their global impact, you can consult the report by Our World in Data on natural catastrophes and the “2021 Global Natural Disaster Assessment Report” that analyzes the frequency and impact of natural disasters worldwide.”