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World Bank calls for urgent climate action in Caribbean

September 15, 2022
Logo of the World Bank Group

CMC – A new World Bank report has called on countries in the region to take urgent action to help reduce the impacts of climate change and set a path for the transition to low-carbon economies.

According to the report, ‘A Roadmap for Climate Action in Latin America and the Caribbean 2021-2025’, climate-related disasters such as hurricanes, droughts, fires, and floods are becoming increasingly frequent and intense in the region and are the cause of enormous economic losses.

It noted that Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is among the regions most vulnerable to the destructive power of such events, with annual costs due to disruptions in energy and transport infrastructure equivalent to 1 per cent of regional GDP and up to 2 per cent in some Central American countries.

Furthermore, climate change is expected to have negative impacts on productivity and harvests in several countries in the region.

The World Bank said this could exacerbate acute food insecurity, which increased rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic to affect more than 16 million people across the region, with many families at risk in 2022 due to higher inflation and food prices. Without action, by 2030, up to 5.8 million people could fall into extreme poverty as a result of climate change, and by 2050 over 17 million people could be forced to leave their homes to escape climate impacts.

“Countries in LAC have a unique opportunity to act swiftly and lead the change towards more resilient and low-carbon economies that foster a better future for their people,” said Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The World Bank has long been a strong partner to the region and as part of our long-term commitment to achieving sustainable and inclusive development, we have stepped up our support, providing about $4.7 billion in climate-related financing during the last year.”

The region is responsible for 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The agricultural sector, together with changes in land use and deforestation, accounts for 47 per cent of emissions in LAC, well above the global average of 19 per cent. Energy, electricity consumption, and transportation account for another 43 per cent of emissions. The report emphasizes opportunities in these areas for both economic growth and services with lower emissions as key to accelerating climate action and leading an urgent transition to low-carbon economies to avoid the irreversible effects of climate change.

“This report offers an ambitious and urgent roadmap for transformative climate action in the region, building on country climate priorities and commitments and focusing on adaptation and resilience, while supporting countries to achieve their low carbon development goals,” said Anna Wellenstein, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean in sustainable development.

The report highlights several priority areas in key sectors for new and accelerated climate action: managing landscapes, agriculture and food systems that include deforestation-free value chains; decarbonizing power generation, transport systems and manufacturing while reducing infrastructure disruptions; and making cities more resilient to climate shocks and reducing urban emissions.

It said these should support cross-cutting actions that help vulnerable populations adapt to climate change and achieve just and equitable transitions to low carbon economies, and promote green growth while reducing financial sector risks and anticipating market transitions.

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