Economics of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean: summary 2010
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Climate change, which is basically manifested in rising average temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, reduction of the ice extent, glacier melt and alterations in the pattern of extreme events, is one of the major challenges facing humankind this century. The evidence available shows that these climate transformations are a global phenomenon resulting, above all, from emissions of greenhouse gases generated by human activity. In turn, they are having substantial, increasing and in many cases irreversible effects on economic activities, populations and ecosystems, three areas in which the Latin American and Caribbean region is particularly sensitive to climate conditions.The challenge of adapting to the new climate conditions by cushioning the most negative effects while simultaneously participating in an international mitigation strategy, with common but differentiated responsibilities, entails economic costs and resources of such a magnitude that climate change will heavily condition the region's economic development options and characteristics over this century. This being so, economic analysis of climate change in Latin America is vital not only to identify the main transmission channels, the scale of climatic effects and the best ways of adapting to the new climate conditions, but also to formulate a long-term sustainable development strategy that combines a lowcarbon pathway with social inclusiveness. This is one of the great challenges for the twenty-first century.This document offers a summary of the aggregate economic analysis of climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was carried out on the basis of national and sectoral studies of climate change economics in the region. The conclusions are still preliminary, but they offer important considerations regarding the implications of climate change for the region's countries, with a view to enhancing understanding of the economic dimension of climate change and contributing to the search for possible solutions.This study was carried out in close collaboration with the Governments of countries in the region as well as Governments of Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and an extensive network of academic and research institutions. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) remains firm in its commitment to pursuing this research further and developing the knowledge and awareness needed to give all actors the opportunity to make decisions on the basis of better and fuller information about the different aspects of climate change.