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IDB, ECLAC Assess Costs of Climate Change Damages in LAC

IDB5 June 2012: The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), together with the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), have released a new report on the vulnerability to large economic damages resulting from climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

The study, titled "The Climate and Development Challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for Climate Resilient Low Carbon Development," suggests that the LAC region must invest more in climate change adaptation initiatives in order to diminish the increasing threat of future economic and environmental losses. It warns that damages caused by climate change impacts, including diminishing agricultural resources, disappearing glaciers, increased flooding and droughts, and coastal damage, could cost the LAC region approximately US$100 billion annually, or 2% of the region's GDP.

The study notes that the adaptation costs are a small fraction of the costs of physical impacts, conservatively estimated at 0.2% of GDP for the region, at current values. In addition, adaptation efforts would have significant development benefits, from enhanced water and food security to improved air quality and reduced vehicle congestion, further reducing their net costs. The study also highlights that more costly investments are necessary to cut the region's projected carbon emissions to levels consistent with global climate stabilization goals. [Publication: The Climate and Development Challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for Climate Resilient Low Carbon Development] [IDB Press Release]