This study prepared by Guy Edwards attempts to identify the priority needs of Latin American and Caribbean policy-makers with respect to climate change and development planning and highlights key organizations, actors and programs that are operating in the climate change and development arena in the region.
Published in Adaptation
The COP17 was a watershed moment for Latin American civil society participation in the UNFCCC negotiations. Civil society organizations (CSOs) actively engaged with governments at the talks and, in turn, governments made efforts to reach out to civil society. This increased level of exchange can be observed on two levels.
Today, at the COP17, a group of Latin American platforms, networks and fora organized by the Building Bridges initiative met with delegations from Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama to discuss the primary issues under negotiation including the longevity of the Kyoto Protocol, designing the Green Climate Fund and adaptation.
This article was first published in LINKS (Jan 2011, No. 37), the magazine of the Chamber of Industry & Commerce Ecuador & Great Britain.

Climate change could cost the Ecuadorian economy billions of dollars. By 2025, the economic losses caused by global warming in countries which make up the Andean Community - Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia - could reach approximately $30 billion annually. The predicted impacts of global warming in Latin America are likely to be harsh. From decreasing agricultural yields and melting glaciers threatening water supplies to job losses and higher incidences of vector borne diseases, climate change has the potential to transform Latin America’s economy, ecosystems and society.
Published in Civil Society
(Photo: UNFCCC Chief, Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica (L), and Patricia Espinosa (R), COP16 President & Mexican Foreign Secretary) 6:23 am, the surgery is shut down, the patient, multilateralism, once given up for dead, is alive and showing signs of what might be a remarkable recovery. A year ago in Copenhagen, nearly all faith in the United Nations system to address climate change was gone.  Secret drafts of agreements by the Danish president were leaked out, and the final Copenhagen Accord was penned by an exclusive group of just five nations, who forced the other 186 nations to simply sign on to their deal.
As the Cancun climate talks stagger into the final few hours, the need for the wealthy countries to support actions by developing countries remains a core issue for negotiators.  But for Latin American nations, the amount they can expect to receive is uncertain. Ever since the very first U.N. conference on the environment back in Stockholm in 1972, developing countries have feared that aid funds they desperately required for basic needs like education, health, and infrastructure might be diverted to green issues, and that they’d have to slow their much-needed economic growth. Way back then, Brazil’s negotiator tartly remarked that it was a “happy coincidence” that those countries who created the problem of global environmental damage were also the ones with the resources to clean it up, including by paying to help developing countries reduce their pollutants.
Published in Climate Finance
  By Adam Kotin, Emily Kirkland and Guy Edwards, Brown University Following the release of two new negotiating texts yesterday, today’s high-level segment is set to chart a course for the next 36 hours of high-octane negotiations. COP16 President Patricia Espinosa said that she is optimism for a productive outcome but nothing is guaranteed at this delicate stage. During the conference numerous experts have reminded us that reaching an agreement is an extremely difficult task. However, many have consistently stated that sufficient political will could break the impasse. Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose position has been under fire for his consistent critic of developed countries’ feet dragging and climate debt, gave an impassioned speech on why the international community must make history in Cancun. Here we capture some of his remarks given earlier this morning:

By Guy Edwards and Taryn Martinez*

On the 21st November the World’s Mayors Summit on Climate took place in Mexico City where city leaders highlighted the progressive role played by urban centres on climate change in the face of sloth-like progress by national governments. Pioneering schemes in a number of Latin American cities illustrates how cities can be an ideal avenue to push low carbon development in the region.
By Arielle Balbus and Guy Edwards  (Brown University) In April this year, the First World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth drew over 35,000 people to the Bolivian city of Cochabamba. The challenge it posed to the climate establishment for failing to reach an agreement in Copenhagen, as well as its substantive accomplishments, are considered a revolution in social mobilization around the mounting threat of climate change.
Published in Civil Society
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 11:38

Adios Chacaltaya

One of Bolivia’s best known glaciers, Chacaltaya, has melted away completely, reports John Enders:
Chacaltaya (the name in Aymara means ''cold road'') began melting in the mid-1980s. Dr. Edson Ramirez, the assistant director of the Institute of Hydraulics and Hydrology at the Universidad Mayor de San Andres in nearby La Paz, documented its disappearance in March.  Ramirez believes the disappearance of Chacaltaya is an indication of the potent effects at higher elevations of the interaction of greenhouse gas accumulation and an increase in average global temperatures. And he thinks other glaciers in the Andean region also may be melting at a rate faster than previously known. Illimani, the colossal 21,200-foot mountain that looms over the city of La Paz, is the home to several glaciers. They likely will melt completely within 30 years, he said.
The disappearance of glaciers is not only of interest to scientists but also for those dependent on them for their livelihoods, water security and power generation from hydroelectricity.
Chacaltaya became well-known long before it started melting. For decades it was declared, and aggressively marketed, as ``the highest ski run in the world.''  ''Very few come to ski now,'' laments Alfredo Martinez, 73, who is one of the founders of the Club Andino de Bolivia, based in La Paz. On the western, mostly arid side of the Andes, millions of people depend on rain, snow run-off and melting glaciers for their water. Not only are the glaciers melting, but less rain seems to be falling in the Andes. The big rain-carrying monsoons drifting west from the Amazon basin have declined in size and intensity, another indication of major climactic changes, Ramirez said. This year, for the first time, the amount of water flowing out of reservoirs serving nearly 2.5 million people in La Paz and its adjacent city, El Alto, will exceed the amount of water flowing into them. This eventually will become a major political issue for leaders in La Paz and El Alto, he said. To Juan Velazquez, who grew up just over the mountain from Chacaltaya in the now-abandoned mining town Mulluni, and later moved with his family to La Paz, the defunct glacier means less income. As a taxi driver, he can earn the equivalent of 50 U.S. dollars driving tourists from La Paz to the glacier and back. That's the equivalent of a month's wages for some in this impoverished land.
The speed of glacial melt reconfirms the importance of adaptation for countries like Bolivia who are historically responsible for a tiny percentage of global carbon emissions, but are the first in line to suffer the consequences of climate change.
Published in Natural Disasters
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