UN: Latin America must spend 4.9% of GDP on climate goals

"The cost of inaction outweighs the cost of action," regional economic commission chief said

Latin America and the Caribbean need to rapidly boost spending to up to 4.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) annually by 2030 to meet their climate targets, a United Nations agency said in a report on Monday.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) report presented at Dubai’s COP28 summit said the region must spend between 3.7% and 4.9% of GDP annually, up from just 0.5% in 2020, amounting to total investments of US$2.1 trillion to US$2.8 trillion by 2030.

This implies the “availability of substantial but not unattainable amounts — and the time to act is now,” ECLAC Executive Secretary Jose Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs said.

Climate mitigation — mostly projects around transportation as well as energy, infrastructure and deforestation — would take up the lion’s share of spending, ECLAC said, while a remaining third would need to go toward adaptation methods.

These include early warning systems, combating poverty, protecting coasts and sanitizing water.

Climate change — excluding the impacts of extreme phenomena — could strip 10% off labor productivity in some countries, it added, cutting potential for economic growth.

The study pointed to extreme weather already plaguing parts of the region and devastating some agricultural sectors, such as core farmlands across Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina.

South America’s Parana-La Plata, home to Argentina’s key farming sector, suffered its worst dry season since 1944, the report said, while estimating that Chile is experiencing its most prolonged and severe drought in a millennium.

“The cost of inaction outweighs the cost of action,” Salazar-Xirinachs said.



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