Latin America and the Caribbean region of solutions to climate change

November 20, 2023

COP28 in Dubai will be an ideal setting to show the world why the solutions generated in Latin America and the Caribbean are essential to confront climate change and guarantee the sustainability of the planet. Forests, biodiversity, clean energy potential, and the amount of arable land are the region's main environmental assets.

Latin America and the Caribbean region of solutions to climate change
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Latin America and the Caribbean are called to lead the solutions against climate change. This statement, somewhat aspirational (we are still far from being environmental leaders at a global level), is based on the undeniable potential of the region.
We have 25% of the world's forests, 40% of the biodiversity, and a third of the freshwater, we provide 14% of the world's food production and are home to 33% of the mammals, 35% of the reptiles, the 41% of birds and 50% of amphibians. In addition, the region's coastal and marine ecosystems cover an area of ​​16 million km2 and more than 70,000 km of coastline.
Natural ecosystems are an important source of protection and adaptation to climate change, since they contribute, among others, to moderating extreme weather events, regulating the climate, and absorbing carbon emissions.
And it is here where the potential of the region shines, with its countless strategic ecosystems such as the Amazon, the Caribbean, the Argentine and Chilean moors, Patagonia, the Atlantic Forest, the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, the mangroves, the Humboldt Current or the Gran Chaco, among many others.
The forests of Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, have the potential to account for two-thirds of the mitigation measures of all-natural solutions. This is due to its potential to capture carbon from the atmosphere. During their growth, forests absorb CO2 and convert it into carbon that is stored in their trunk, roots, and leaves. Latin America and the Caribbean have 25% of the forests and 57% of the primary forests on the entire planet, and that is why we have an important competitive advantage.
In terms of agriculture, a sector that is already suffering the impacts of global warming in the form of soil degradation (14% of this occurs in the region), reduction of desired crops, or proliferation of weeds and pests, Latin America and The Caribbean also has enviable potential. According to the FAO, the region has the largest reserves of arable land in the world (28%), and the world will demand 60% more food by 2050. Currently, agriculture contributes between 5 and 18% of the regional GDP.
In the field of renewable energies, the key to replacing hydrocarbons and guaranteeing cleaner and less polluting production systems, Latin America also has enormous potential. For example, we have 15% of the world's total geothermal capacity; and 20% of the planet's hydroelectric capacity (Brazil is the second largest global producer), and so far we have only developed 23% of the hydroelectric potential, something that makes us one of the most promising markets. But the most notable thing is that, according to the Global Energy Monitor, the region can become a world leader in renewable energy, with a potential increase of 460% in wind and solar capacity.
“The competitive advantages of the region to provide solutions to climate change must be concretized and materialized with the mobilization of resources and technologies, as well as with policies that promote adaptation to climate change, disaster risk management, sustainable agricultural practices, solutions based on nature, and the protection of natural ecosystems and biodiversity. This will be one of the main demands of the region at the next COP28 in Dubai: a new look at climate change is necessary from the potential that the region offers,” says Alicia Montalvo, manager of Climate Action and Positive Biodiversity at CAF.