Solutions to Global Warming in Latin America
Solutions to global warming across the varied countries of Latin America include pursuing new policies to curb deforestation and forest degradation; reducing emissions from cars, trucks and buses; and promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Latin America is home to a number of rapidly developing nations and vast tropical forest reserves, putting it under the watchful eye of the international community. Four countries in this region make the global top 30 list of highest annual CO2 emitters, namely Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela (using 2008 data). Brazil quickly rises to the top five if emissions from deforestation are included. The region also faces a range of climate impacts, including threats to drinking water resources due to the shrinking ice pack in the Andes mountains and potential reductions in crop yields and flooding due to sea-level rise.
Tropical deforestation is a major cause of climate change; and, unfortunately, Latin America is no stranger to this issue—more forests have been destroyed in this region than in any other since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992. With 40 percent of its land mass covered by tropical forests, many Latin American countries have a tremendous opportunity to reduce their global warming emissions. Leaders on tropical forest management have emerged in the region and are advancing innovative solutions.
One standout is Costa Rica, which aims to be carbon neutral (have zero net greenhouse gas emissions) by 2021. Already a green leader with 96 percent of its electricity coming from renewable sources, Costa Rica has increased its forested area by 10 percent in the last decade. Another notable is Brazil, which has demonstrated the enormous potential of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as well as the potential of biofuels for reducing emissions from vehicles. Detailed analyses of publicly available satellite photos show that Brazil has reduced deforestation in the Amazon enough over the past five years to lower heat-trapping emissions more than any other country on Earth.