ECLAC Urges Countries to Change Development Paradigm to Combat Climate Change, Achieve Sustainable Development
UN Photo/Mark Garten
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The publication examines nine theses or assumptions related to climate change and sustainable development in LAC and seven challenges they pose.

These assumptions and challenges are supported by a series of graphics and illustrations.

August 2018: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) published a report on the economics of climate change in the region, including a graphic presentation of related assumptions and statistical data. The report titled, ‘Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Graphic View,’ aims to serve as a tool for improving the design, execution and evaluation of public policies focused on transitioning to a more sustainable development paradigm.

The publication examines nine theses or assumptions related to climate change and sustainable development in LAC and seven challenges they pose, supported by a series of graphics and illustrations. The assumptions are as follows:

  1. Climate change is happening now and will intensify in the future, with global economic, social and environmental causes and implications;
  2. Climate change accompanies the current development paradigm;
  3. Climate change involves a temporal mismatch, meaning that taking action today will lead to future benefits;
  4. Climate change is a “global but heterogenous and asymmetric phenomenon with a dual inequity” as the LAC region, for example, accounts for less than 10% of global emissions, but is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change;
  5. The LAC region’s sustainable development strategies must incorporate timely, efficient adaptation processes independent of global agreements;
  6. Latin America’s unsustainable development style is reflected in its consumption patterns, which directly influence climate change, and are based on an increasing preference for private services and rising income;
  7. Managing climate change risks can lead to more sustainable development, and investing in adaptation and mitigation leads to economic growth;
  8. Tackling climate change requires normative, fiscal and corrective public policies and/or the creation of new markets, such as increasing environmental taxation; and
  9. The climate challenge is also a sustainable development challenge, the successful implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) will lead to a more sustainable form of development, and achieving NDC targets may require policy changes.

The successful implementation of NDCs will lead to a more sustainable form of development.

The report then describes seven challenges related to tackling climate change and achieving sustainable development in LAC. These challenges relate to: 1) overcoming the current development paradigm and its associated consumption patterns; 2) agricultural activities; 3) energy production and consumption patterns, and the need to cope with a highly vulnerable electrical power generation system, while transitioning towards a more efficient, low-carbon energy system; 4) urban areas and infrastructure, including urban sprawl, which has increased the demand for transport and other public services, and thus can also drive change and innovation; 5) water resources, with increased humidity and water stress in the region, Mexico, Caribbean and Central America becoming drier and South America increasingly exposed to flooding; 6) forests and biodiversity, with loss of the latter often underestimated as it is not included by countries in their environmental accounts; and 7) coasts as sea levels rise, with the need for regional-level coordination and restoration of mangrove forests. [Publication: Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Graphic View] [Report Landing Page]

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