CLIMATE CHANGE: Responding to Global Fluctuations

By Chavkin, Sasha | Americas Quarterly, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

CLIMATE CHANGE: Responding to Global Fluctuations


Chavkin, Sasha, Americas Quarterly


Climate policy debates are usually focused on future actions. But for many of Latin America's poorest people, the crisis is already underway.

Global climate change is currently responsible for 300,000 deaths per year. A May 2009 report by the Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF) estimates that the effects of climate change annually leave 325 million people in need of immediate assistance and impose $125 billion in economic losses. The report cites Latin America among the world's most vulnerable regions.

Both extreme weather events and gradual climate changes demonstrate the continent's vulnerability. The Andean region is particularly at risk from changing rainfall patterns and melting glaciers. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people in Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia have been displaced by massive floods, while cities dependent on glacier-fed water, like Quito and La Paz, are facing looming scarcity. In Mexico, an increasing number of floods in southern states has been accompanied by decreasing rainfall in the dry central corridor, leading to an 18-year-low in Mexico City's freshwater supply. Hurricanes routinely strike Central America and the Caribbean, but in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the number of intense tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic Ocean had increased significantly since 1970, projecting that their strength would continue to escalate. In Haiti, last year's four consecutive hurricanes drove an estimated 111,000 Haitians into emergency shelters.

Gradual temperature fluctuations and rainfall patterns have brought disease and hunger to Latin America. From February to May of this year, more than 200,000 cases of dengue fever were reported in South America-one of the worst such epidemics on record in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina. Regions of Peru, Brazil and Argentina are beginning to face declining crop yields due to increased El Niño variability, placing peasant farmers at risk of extreme poverty and hunger. A 2009 World Bank study (Low Carbon, High Growth: Latin America Responds to Climate Change) estimates revenue losses of 12 percent to 50 percent for small farms in Latin America this century.

A REGIONAL RESPONSE

The growing climate crisis is leading regional policymakers to turn their attention to harm-reduction strategies known as adaptation- where attention is focused on how to cost-effectively reduce the risk and damage from current and future climate change- and to shift their sights from the long term to the present. "This is a very big change in the way that countries are approaching climate change," says Dr. Walter Baethgen of Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society. Columbia's pioneering program provides data for managing droughts and floods to Chile, a dengue early warning system to Colombia and a water management program for the droughtaffected Brazilian state of Ceará. Information is then used to formulate more effective, forward-looking policies. In Chile, this type of data has helped the government to formulate procedures for declaring a state of emergency and for preparing and responding to disasters. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

CLIMATE CHANGE: Responding to Global Fluctuations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.