Caribbean and Latin American countries are facing economic damage of up to $100 billion per year by 2050 due to global warming, according to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The report calls for the region to "dramatically increase" it's investment in climate change adaptation over time. Entitled "The Climate and Development Challenge for Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for Climate Resilient Low Carbon Development,"
it urged that action must be taken to prepare for the climate change, warning that once the damage is done it cannot be repaired. "Estimated annual damages in [Latin America and the Caribbean] caused by the physical impacts associated with a rise of [two degrees Celsius] over pre-industrial levels are estimated to be in the order of over $100 billion, or about 2 percent of the current GDP," a statement from the report said.
"Losses of this magnitude would limit development options as well as access to natural resources and ecosystem services. More worrisome is the fact that many of these changes are irreversible and therefore will continue to impact the region over the long term. "Conversely, overall costs to adapt are estimated to be on the order of 0.2 percent of the GDP for the region, or about 10 percent of the costs of physical impacts, indicating that adaptation is generally cost effective."
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean contribute 11 percent of the emissions that cause global warming. Climate impacts certain areas such as agriculture, exposure to tropical diseases and shifting rainfall patterns, among others.
The report stated that estimates done to determine the loss of net agricultural exports in the region range between $30 billion to $52 billion by 2050. Director of Environmental Economics for the World Wildlife Fund Pablo Gutman said that while the investment need to combat against global warming may be steep, it will be worth it in the long run. "Yes, spending $110 billion a year for a region that faces major development challenges is not an easy proposition," Gutman said. "However, this would also bring about major benefits such as an improved food and energy security, and people would have healthier lives in cleaner environments."
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