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Climate Change Newsletter

Once again, all the signatories of the Framework Convention on Climate Change are meeting to discuss progress in the fight against global warming, this time in Doha, the capital of Qatar (Cop18). Since the failure of the Copenhagen summit (Cop 15), the issue has somehow dropped off the political agenda in Latin America, in spite of the fact that climate change affects the lives of millions of people in the region. In this newsletter, we cover some of the developments related to this important question.

Climate change does not only cause terrible damaged as a result of weather changes. The consequences affect the economy and even the stability of a country. According to Economic Commission for Latin America, ECLAC, and the Caribbean, the region will suffer losses of $100 billion, due to damages to agriculture and the consequences of draughts and floods. ECLAC believes that Latin America needs to invest more in mitigation and adaptation policies in the next few years to withstand the inevitable increase of temperatures caused by climate change. Read more

Of course, any alternative to of greenhouse gas emissions is to be welcomed. And, unless radical action is taken, Latin America will help to trigger natural disasters of incalculable consequences. The Inter-American development Bank says that the region contributes 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Global Post is publishing a series of articles related to this problem. Read more.

This year, the hurricane season had particularly serious consequences in the Caribbean. Although the hurricane season is a yearly event, this year, hurricane Sandy’s devastating storms are the result of an increase in temperatures and a rise in seas levels. This is not idle speculation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted in 2007 that there would be an increase in sea levels and climate change has also provoked an increase in sea temperatures. These two elements have contributed to the devastating effects of hurricane Sandy. Read more.

Latin America is not only complaining about the lack of progress in adopting measures to stop climate change. The region has been adopting measures to fight the devastating effects of global warming. Agriculture is one of the first victims of this situation. Some countries, like Costa Rica, have been putting into practice actions, like small-scale agriculture, to avoid the excessive use of pesticides and fuel in big scale agriculture. Jonathan Castro, a respected educationalist from Costa Rica talks about this novel alternative to fight climate change. Read more.

In order to evaluate progress in measures adopted by the region in its fight against climate change, the Latin American Platform on Climate has published a report to assess “existing governmental actions and initiatives that address climate change and development in each country and the quality of those policies”. It is the first time a comprehensive study on the way ten governments in Latin America are acting against global warming is being published. Read more.

In spite of the fact that the USA is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses and although states like California have put into practice policies to reduce such emissions, it seems that many Latin American cities have overtaken their counterparts in the United States in putting into practice measures to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, most of major Latin American cities, 95% have started planning to take measures to deal with the consequences of climate, compare 59% of American cities. The irony is not lost in this subject: one of the biggest polluters in the world is doing less that its victims to live with the inevitable consequences of global warming. Read more.

In recent years, deforestation in Brazil has gone down. However, illegal loggers, the main contributor to deforestation – one of the causes of climate change – has managed to bend tough laws to “legalise” their vicious activities. LAB’s Sue Branford, who recently visited Brazil (read her blogs here), investigates how trees are destroyed and wood is illegally sold in the Xingo valley, in eastern Amazonia, despite the fact that locals want nothing to do with such illegal activities. Read more.

In Other News

LAB contributor Jan Rocha has sent a ery important article from São Paulo (read more), and I covers the wave of killings in the City.

Two detailed reports added to the picture of mining presented in our last newsletter. These covered Colombia (read more) and the Dominican Republic (read more). A third report analyses the UK government’s funding of a report lauding investment in extractive industries in Guatemala (read more).

Meanwhile, the agriculture NGO GRAIN has issued a detailed warning of the onslaught of GMO crops, particularly in Mexico (read more), and LAB editor Nick Caistor makes a quick assessment of the six wasted years of outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderón (read more).

Become a LAB Partner

Latin America Bureau (LAB) is extending a cordial invitation to NGOs, CSOs and others in the Region (as well as Aid Agencies, Campaigns, Human Rights and Solidarity groups concerned with the Region) to become LAB Partners. LAB will list Partners, with a brief Profile of each, where they work, their objectives, contact details, website links, etc., on the Partners Page of LAB’s website (www.lab.org.uk).

There is no cost. The Partner simply completes a very brief survey and signs the agreement. LAB will then add them to the listing of LAB Partners.

As our work develops, we hope to publish links to websites and articles with news of the Partners’ work and campaigns; to launch discussions and blogs through which the Partners can communicate with one another; to provide training material and skills to help Partners to improve their communication skills; and to build an e-Library of links to articles and reports on campaigns and themes of common interest.

To become a LAB Partner, simply click the appropriate link below and complete the Survey and Agreement: 

Spanish: www.surveymonkey.com/s/LABPartnerProfileSpa
English: www.surveymonkey.com/s/LABPartnerProfileEng 
French: www.surveymonkey.com/s/LABPartnerProfileFre 
Portuguese: www.surveymonkey.com/s/LABPartnerProfilePor