Annexes to Latin America Regional Climate Screening

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 30th Mar 2011

Annex 1: Intensification of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

One of the climatic events that may become more frequent and intense due to climate change is El Niño. Over the last 3 decades the Andean sub-region has experimented an increase in the El Nino events, with two extremely intense events in 82/83 and 97/98 (CAN 2008). The Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF) estimated that El Niño event in 97/98 produced losses of US$ 7,545 million, equivalent to 2.6% of the sub-region’s GDP. Three of the most affected countries were Ecuador (14% of GDP), Bolivia (7% of GDP), and Peru (4.5% of GDP) (AEA 2008). It is recognized that more than half of all emergencies in the Andean region have hydrometeorological origin. Between 1970-1999 and 2000-2005, the number of annual hydrometeorological events has increased 2.4 times (Stern 2006). Natural disasters in the region have been estimated to cause the death of around 3,500 lives and affecting more than 1 million of people (CAN 2008). El Niño event is also associated with droughts in north-eastern Brazil, and natural disasters on the Pacific coast of Central America.

Annex 2: Building Capacity to Adapt to Glacial Melt

The Andean Community is financing, in collaboration with the World Bank and supported by the GEF (through the Special Climate Change Fund), a US$ 32 million project to study the glacial retreat and create an adaptation plan for the Andean sub-region affected by this phenomenon (World Bank 2008). The project will carry out pilot activities to evaluate the costs and benefits of adaptation measures in the affected countries and contribute to build adaptive capacity in vulnerable ecosystems and local economies. For instance, it aims to develop alternative sources of water supply, diversify energy sources away from reliance on hydropower and provide advanced irrigation systems to minimise the impact of glacier melt on Andean communities (Vergara et al. 2007). In parallel to this project, the GTZ is leading a regional programme on Climate Change to be implemented in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. The focus of this programme is centred on local capacities in two priority areas: watershed management and forest management (Considering the REDD scheme). Furthermore, the Institute of Research for Development (IRD 2007) is implementing a regional research programme to investigate the evolution of glaciers in the Andes and evaluate future behaviour of water resources that depend on glaciers and their relation to climatic variability. This programme is carried out in collaboration with universities in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

Annex 3: Initiatives to conserve the Amazonia and build mechanisms to cope with climate change

With the collaboration of UNEP, GEF and OAS, the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) has initiated a process of dialogue and design of a regional programme for integrated management of water resources. Also, different initiatives (at the national level and through schemes such as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility) have recently started to support the design of strategies to implement Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) as a mechanism for mitigating climate change and conserving forested areas in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana and other countries that share the Amazon basin. Conservation efforts through payment for ecosystem services such as REDD are not only a strategy for climate-change mitigation, regional development, and biodiversity conservation but also a potential strategy for adaptation as the climate of Amazonia, particularly eastern, tends toward one of intensified seasonality (Malhi et al. 2009). REDD could also provide a strong market-based incentive for complying with environmental laws and using best land management practices, while encouraging protection of large areas of forest sitting on soils that are not suitable for cattle ranching and soybean production.

Nepstad (2007) estimated that 94% of the Amazonia could be compensated at less than $10 per ton of carbon, which means that is really only 10% of forests sitting in soils very suitable for soybeans (biodiesel) and with good road connection that drive the price, currently estimated at a REDD opportunity cost of around $100 per ton

Annex 4: Hurricanes and Storms

Hurricanes and storms are a major hazard in both Central America and the Caribbean and will continue to be so in the future. The effects of anthropogenic climate change on hurricane frequency and intensity is debated, as although there has been a trend for increasing numbers of storms reaching categories 4 and 5 since 1970 this may merely be part of a natural cycle. There are indications that hurricane intensity will increase in the Caribbean basin, but these projections should still be treated with caution. It is clear, however, that the economic damage and number of people affected by hurricanes and tropical storms has increased. For example the number of people affected by hurricanes and storms in the Caribbean and Central America for the period 1991-2008 is more than four times that for the period 1970-1990, and economic damages for the 1991-2008 are 7.5 and 10.5 times as great as 1970-1990 in the Caribbean and Central America respectively. This trend is likely to continue even if overall numbers of storms stay the same due to a combination of population growth, economic development and rising sea-levels exacerbating the effects of storm surges. A stark example of the devastating effects of hurricanes comes from the case of Grenada, which was hit by Hurricanes Ivan and Emily in 2004 and 2005. Overall losses were estimated at more than double total GDP, 90% of housing stock was affected and 90% of tourist beds damaged or destroyed. Grenada has recovered to some extent from hurricanes Ivan and Emily, but growth in 2008 was only 3.7% compared to pre-hurricane estimates for 5.6%, and the cost of reconstruction has left the island with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 110%. Changes to storms and hurricanes may be uncertain, but focusing on disaster preparedness and risk reduction will not only have immediate development benefits but will also act to prepare the sub-region for any increase in frequency and intensity that does occur. A synergistic approach between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction should be pursued, in particular given the circumstances of the Caribbean and Central America, for example by implementing the Hyogo Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction .

Annex 5: Climate Projections for the Caribbean

Warming is likely to be less than the global average in the Caribbean at +1.4-3.2°C by 2081-2100 (with a median response of +2°C), and there is a robust signal for a reduction in precipitation, although projections range from a small increase to a large decrease (Christensen et al. 2007). The island nature of the region means that local changes may be significantly different to the regional picture, in particular given that islands are below the resolution of most climate models. There is a need to further explore the use of downscaled climate scenarios for the Caribbean, including both regional climate modelling (some of which the CCCCC is already carrying out) and statistical downscaling approaches.

The cost of inaction in the Caribbean

Economic impacts of climate change in the Caribbean for high temperatures rise and low temperature rise scenarios. Source Bueno et al 2008.

Economic impacts of climate change in the Caribbean for high temperatures rise and low temperature rise scenarios. Source Bueno et al 2008.

 

The cost of inaction on climate change in the Caribbean (high impact scenario minus low impact scenario). Note these figures do not include adaptation. Source Bueno et al. 2008

The cost of inaction on climate change in the Caribbean (high impact scenario minus low impact scenario). Note these figures do not include adaptation. Source Bueno et al. 2008

Full list of references for Latin America Regional Strategy