UNEP Releases Vital Climate Change Graphics for Latin America and the Caribbean

6 December 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), has released a report titled "Vital Climate Change Graphics for Latin America and the Caribbean." 

Launched on the sidelines of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC in Cancun, Mexico, the report depicts the major signs of climate change in the region and its physical impacts, drawing on historical analysis of variables such as temperature, precipitation and sea levels. In addition, it details the effects of climate change on ecosystem services, human health and the region's vulnerability to extreme events. Lastly, it provides an analysis of global and regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and identifies possible options in the region for mitigating the impact of climate change. The report shows that the number of people in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) affected by extreme temperatures, forest fires, droughts, storms and floods grew from five million in the 1970s, to over 40 million from 2000 to 2009.

Other key messages in the report include that: solutions to climate change must be based on the participation of all countries, with recognition of common but differentiated responsibilities; LAC as a whole emitted fewer tons of carbon dioxide per capita than the world average, but rates poorly compared to other regions with regard to emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent per US$1 million of GDP; the effects of climate change in the region are already significant, particularly in the agricultural, health, water and tourism sectors; and climate projections under different emissions scenarios indicate that forms of production, distribution and consumption must be profoundly altered, in order to move towards economies with lower levels of carbon dioxide emissions and greater social inclusion. [Vital Graphics Website]