South American problems/climate change in Lima today

By Paul Robinson - 01 Dec 2014 11:15:0 GMT
South American problems/climate change in Lima today

The uniqueness of the fauna of South America is not restricted to the familiar llamas and alpacas and their relatives. Just figure how biodiversity and climate change affect each other, or, if you can’t, don’t bother being a representative at one of the most important global warming meets in Peru. Alpaca and llama image; Credit: © Shutterstock

Latin America has climate change problems that need to be seriously considered as Lima moves into the world spotlight today. IPCC2 Chairman, Julian Hunt has written in a Guardian article on this area’s pressing neglect. With English language documents considered in climate talks, other language contributions tend to be neglected – obviously leaving a gap that translation needs to speedily correct for Portuguese and Spanish!

The urgent matters of variations in river flow and urban air pollution are not entirely unique to South America, but the focus could easily be on their problems. The effect would be to examine these particular areas elsewhere on earth. The danger is in ignoring less reported events when in fact they could turn out to be the major factors involving climate change. The variations of ocean temperature around South America have also been causing distress to fisheries and many associated industries. Earth Times has reported on several successful Peruvian conservation efforts over the last few weeks, while governmental promotion of biofuels, such as biogas generation within a village, is commendable despite the continuing problem of forest losses (contributing an incredible 15% of carbon emissions worldwide!) throughout this continent.

Innovative local programmes include producing more goods in local factories. This reduces shipping costs and provides incentive all round for more green activity by community, business or individuals. This has seen the creation of physico-chemical lighting and composite bricks for more environment-friendly industries. South America is possibly the nearest of all of us to the tipping point that global warming has been threatening. That above all is the reason we must consider not only the Amazon this year, but also the Pacific fishing industry and the conservation of species in the deserts and the mountains. This is the magnificent continent that gave us the beautiful alpaca above and possesses possibly the most biodiverse national parks for ecotourists on earth. Just look at those macaws and titi monkeys. The impact of tourism, even on the economy of the most developed nations, is unbelievable.

For the poorest nations in South America, that impact is simply vast. The pollution problems of cities also comes to the forefront of discussion much more often than conservation. So air quality and the greening of the favelas need to be on menus this week, but as Europe, China and the US are apparently cooperating on the main topics, it is likely there could be time for international cooperation on local issues of climate change too.