Saturday, January 15, 2011

Study emphasizes need to address impacts of climate change

An item posted at Hispanically Speaking News describes how global climate change will compound the precarious state of El Salvador's water resources:

According to recent studies like the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), El Salvador will be the most water-stressed country in Central America in the future.
Population growth and climate change in the Central America region are driving this dire prediction. Water demand is expected to grow by 300 percent by 2050 in the region. To compound the problem the availability of renewable water could fall from current levels by 63 percent.

The study “The Economics of Climate Change in Central America: 2010” shows that El Salvador will be most negatively effected followed by Honduras and Nicaragua. El Salvador is also the most deforested country in Latin America.

The Central America region contributes a small part of the world’s green house gases emission, the leading cause of climate change, but is the most vulnerable to its negative effects.
The study by the ECLAC cited in the article is available for download here. The study is technical and full of facts and figures. But it sounds an alarm -- Central America is at risk from global climate change and must take steps without delay to mitigate the foreseeable future impacts:
Central American societies need to become more audacious managers of their water resources, securing their sustainable and efficient use for the benefit of the population and production. Protecting food security in the face of climate change, especially access to basic grains and making the transition toward more sustainable agriculture is a major and necessary challenge in order to protect the poorest members of the population, whether as small scale producers or urban consumers. The protection of natural ecosystems and their biodiversity, including forests, mountain and river systems, and coastal-marine zones, including coral reefs and mangroves, is vital to maintain the multiple services that these provide human and other living beings. The active development of appropriate technologies is essential for adaptation to climate change and the transition to low-carbon economies; both in terms of access to modern technologies and the recovery of traditional and local knowledge and technologies, especially those of indigenous peoples and small scale agriculturalist communities.

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