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Climate challenges for the American continent

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“Latin America & the Caribbean accounts for only 7% of greenhouse gas emissions but stores over a quarter of the world’s forest cover, almost half of the remaining tropical forests and 25% of mangrove distribution that we all depend upon. Without expanded financial assistance this natural capital is at risk.”

In an effort to better assess progress achieved by countries across the Western Hemisphere towards delivering on their climate pledges, in anticipation of the forthcoming United Nation’s Climate Change Conference of the Parties 26 (COP26) scheduled to start November 1st in Glasgow, Scotland, the Institute of the Americas (IOA) has issued the report Nationally Determined Contributions Across the Americas: A Comparative Hemispheric Analysis.

Climate finance gap

Authored by Tania Miranda, IOA’s Director of Policy & Stakeholder Engagement for our Environment & Climate Change Program, the 43-page report highlights the serious funding gaps faced by countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to be able to deliver on their pledges. According to Miranda, “most LAC nations’ pledges are contingent upon receiving international assistance—meaning the burden of their pledges will also rely heavily on G-7 nations and the private sector.”

The report highlights several of the regional challenges ahead, including the persistent reliance by some LAC countries on fossil fuels and the growing fiscal risks of the energy transition; the impacts of climate induced drought on countries, like Brazil and Mexico, that are highly dependent on hydro-electric power amidst rising energy demand; and the missed opportunity by most countries to align their COVID-19 recovery spending to their climate commitments.

ALC responsable por el 7% de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero mundiales

The report also highlights that since LAC nations are only responsible for 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, absent additional assistance from the developed world, they have little incentive to commit resources to climate mitigation. Still, most countries in the region are at high risk of climate disasters, which are increasing in intensity and frequency with higher global temperatures. More than 27% of its population lives in coastal areas, and 6–8% lives in areas at high or very high risk of being affected by coastal hazards and sea-level rise. At the same time, Latin America & the Caribbean remains one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth accounting for almost half of the remaining tropical forests, including the rainforests of the

Amazon and Central America. Yet, these ecosystems are at risk due to land-use changes. Without adequate financial incentives, this vital carbon sinks could be lost forever.

Find and download our report, as well as the 16 country-specific infographics and other interesting related resources, here. All this material will be available in Spanish too by the end of the month.

About the Institute of the Americas

Established in 1981, the Institute of the Americas is an independent, nonpartisan Inter-American institution devoted to encouraging social and economic reform in the Americas, broadening communication and strengthening political and economic relations between Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States and Canada. For more information, please visit: https://iamericas.org.


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