Venezuela

Summary:

Venezuela is located in Northern South American. The country borders the Caribbean Sea to the north, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Federal Republic of Brazil to the south, and the Republic of Colombia to the west.

Venezuela has a hot and humid tropical climate which is more moderate in the highlands. The Andes Mountains and the Maracaibo Lowlands are located in the northwest and the Guiana Highlands are located in the southeast. The center of Venezuela is characterized by the llanos, extensive grassy plains which stretch from the border of Colombia in the west, to the Orinoco River delta in the east. Forests occupy approximately 54 percent of Venezuela’s territory. The states of Falcón and Lara, located in north-western Venezuela, contain the largest areas of arid and semi-arid conditions in the country. Here, total annual rainfall ranges between 350 and 700 millimeters, with an overall annual average rainfall of 515 millimeters.

Venezuela is highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for approximately 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The agricultural sector in Venezuela generates approximately 5 percent of GDP and contributes 40 percent to internal demand for agricultural products. Most of Venezuela’s agricultural production is concentrated in arid and semi-arid areas. As such, the agriculture sector is vulnerable to variations in climatic conditions. Venezuela is located in Northern South American. The country borders the Caribbean Sea to the north, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Federal Republic of Brazil to the south, and the Republic of Colombia to the west.

Venezuela has a hot and humid tropical climate which is more moderate in the highlands. The Andes Mountains and the Maracaibo Lowlands are located in the northwest and the Guiana Highlands are located in the southeast. The center of Venezuela is characterized by the llanos, extensive grassy plains which stretch from the border of Colombia in the west, to the Orinoco River delta in the east. Forests occupy approximately 54 percent of Venezuela’s territory. The states of Falcón and Lara, located in north-western Venezuela, contain the largest areas of arid and semi-arid conditions in the country. Here, total annual rainfall ranges between 350 and 700 millimeters, with an overall annual average rainfall of 515 millimeters.

Venezuela is highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for approximately 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The agricultural sector in Venezuela generates approximately 5 percent of GDP and contributes 40 percent to internal demand for agricultural products. Most of Venezuela’s agricultural production is concentrated in arid and semi-arid areas. As such, the agriculture sector is vulnerable to variations in climatic conditions.

Source: Global Environment Facility Project for Venezuela: Promotion of sustainable and climate-compatible rural development in Lara and Falcon States. Project Identification Form, 8 April 2009.

Guyana

Summary:

Guyana, based on the 1994 national inventory, makes only a minor contribution to emissions of greenhouse gases. However, increases in the global mean temperatures could have significant impact, especially on the coastal plain and on activities including the dominant agriculture sector in Guyana.

Paraguay

Summary:

Paraguay is a landlocked country, located in the center of South America, bordering Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. Currently, Paraguay does not have a formal climate change adaptation strategy.

Paraguay’s climate is subtropical to temperate, characterized by a rainy season in summer and a dry season in winter. The mean temperature of Paraguay is 24 degrees Celsius. However, thermal variations exist. The mountains, plateaus and valleys located in the east of the country contribute to a temperate and humid climate, contrasting with the warm, dry tropical climate of the Chaco plain in the west. Substantial rainfall occurs in the eastern region, becoming semiarid in the far west (CIA 2009). Mean annual rainfall in the southeastern region is 1800 millimeters. Mean rainfall in the northwest is 700 millimeters. The river Paraguay divides the country into two environmentally very different regions: the Oriental Region and the Western Region. Paraguay’s terrain consists of grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay, low, marshy plains in the Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere (CIA 2009).

Agriculture, cattle raising, and forestry constitute the base of Paraguay’s economy, representing 16.5 percent, 7.8 percent, and 2.7 percent of Paraguay’s GDP, respectively. Agriculture constitutes the fundamental pillar of Paraguay's economy. Soybean and cotton contribute more than 50 percent of the national exports. As Paraguay is reliant on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, Paraguay’s economy is vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Sources: CIA – The World Factbook. 2009. Paraguay. [online]. Available at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pa.html. [8 November 2009] and Paraguay - Executive Summary National Communication - 10 April 2002.

Peru

Summary:

The demand for energy in Peru is increasing. Most of the agricultural and forest waste is burned in the fields without any energy recovery. A project funded by the Global Environment Facility seeks to remove the barriers to commercial use of bio fuels and non-wood cellulose. This is a substitution for electricity generation based on the use of fossil fuels and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Peru is located in South America. It lies at 10 00 S, 76 00 W and has a total area of 1,285,216 square kilometres. The climate and geography in Peru is varied. The climate is tropical in the east and dry in the west. Its natural hazards include earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides and mild volcanic activity. There is a western coastal plain and eastern lowland jungle of the Amazon Basin. The high and rugged Andes are located in the centre of Peru. Its natural resources include copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, iron ore, coal and natural gas.

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook, Peru (as at 11 November 2009); Global Environment Facility. Obtaining bio fuels and non-wood cellulose fibre from agricultural residues/waste. Project Brief.

Suriname

Summary:

Suriname is located on the north-eastern coast of South America bordering French Guiana in the east, Brazil in the south, Guyana in the west, and the Atlantic Ocean in the north. The northern, lowland coastal area is particularly vulnerable to inundation and erosion of coastal zones and other negative impacts of climate change. Some of the proposed adaptation measures include: integrated coastal zone management, the efficient utilization of water resources, and the development of salt-tolerant crops.

Argentina

Summary:

Argentina has submitted two National Communications to the United Nations Frameworks Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), laying out the actions that the government has already taken and the analytical basis for its policy response to climate change, as well as its commitments to take future actions within an official international framework.

Bolivia

Summary:

Bolivia has submitted only one National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in November 2000. The Communication established the National GHG Inventory for the year 1994, it presents the main vulnerability challenges to climate change for the forestry, water and farm sectors, as well as provides mitigation options and a description of the existing projects in the various sectors.

A Second National Communication is currently under preparation with the objectives of establishing strategic relationships with local governments and institutions for a better understanding of the impacts of climate change, to generate a national GHG inventory, to generate vulnerability studies of human systems to climate change, to collaborate with the development of climate change scenarios and to offer support to the development of pilot projects in mitigation of GHG from key sources.

The National Climate Change Program (PNCC, Spanish acronym) was created in 1995 as operational branch of the formerly known Vice Ministry of Biodiversity, Forest Resources and Environment10currently Vice-Ministry of Environment, Biodiversity and Climate Change, which acts as the Ministry of Environment and Waters’s coordinating body. The Vice-Ministry plays the role of a technical advisor to the government on climate change adaptation issues and actions to comply with the UNFCCC. The PNCC initiated research activities related to climate change issues and the first investigations on the national inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the analysis of vulnerability and adaptation of forest, agriculture, livestock and water resources and the analysis of mitigation options for GHG emissions in the energy and not-energy sectors in order to consolidate the National Communications to the UNFCCC. Within the PNCC´s responsibilities also lies the development of National Climate Change Action Plans11 and related strategies as well as the educational dissemination of climate change issues to the Bolivian public.

The Bolivian Strategy on Climate Change will be based on the following four areas, designed to follow action within an economic and social development framework:

  • Promoting clean development in Bolivia by introducing technological changes in the agriculture, forestry, and industrial sectors, aimed to reduce GHG emissions with a positive impact on development.
  • Contributing to carbon management in forests, wetlands and other managed natural ecosystems.
  • Increasing effectiveness in energy supply and use to mitigate effects of GHG emissions and risk of contingencies.
  • Focus on increased and efficient observations, and understanding of environmental changes in Bolivia to develop effective and timely responses.

Bolivia has incorporated cross-cutting policies and programs into the 2006-2010 National Development Program to guarantee adequate and early response to the impacts of climate change. In 2007, the country issued its National Adaptation Plan (MNACC, Spanish acronym) which aims at reducing vulnerability to climate change and promoting planned adaptation within the framework of various sectoral programs. The Plan includes five sectoral programs: 1) water resources, 2) food security, 3) health, 4) human settlements and risks reduction and 5) ecosystems; and three transversal programs: 1) scientific research, 2) education, and 3) social aspects.

The first Climate Change Adaptation Strategy at the Municipal level, covering six municipalities of Titicaca Lake and Crucenos Valleys region, was issued in May 2007. Among the adaptation measures identified in the Strategy are the following priority areas: 1) territorial planning; 2) water security; 3) climate-proofing productive systems; 4) development of adaptation capacity, etc.

Brazil

Summary:
Summary

The rain forest in Brazil is a unique ecosystem that is particularly threatened by the impacts of climate change. In the worst case scenario, huge parts of the Amazon River basin could transform into a savannah. This would have dramatic consequences both for the worldwide climate, as well as the local population whose livelihood depends on the rain forest. Like many other Latin American countries, Brazil has not fully confronted what is entailed in adapting to climate change. However, this is gradually changing. For instance, the Brazilian climate change plan published in December 2008 covers adaptation. Based on more accurate regional climate models that are expected to be published in 2009, the government intends to prepare detailed adaptation measures (p. 76).

Country Profile

Climate change will affect Brazil in multiple ways. The consequences of global warming can already be observed today. During the past decades, patterns of precipitation have changed significantly and temperatures have risen by 0.5°C.

The Amazon region is especially vulnerable to climate change. The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world and represents 40 percent of all remaining rainforest on the planet. About 65 percent of the Amazon region is located in Brazil. The remainder is distributed across eight additional countries. The Amazon region is crucial for both the global and the local climate. Through evaporation, the rainforest absorb massive amounts of heat and is an important source of fresh water. About half of all rainfall in the Amazon region is caused by local evaporation. Furthermore, the most important export-oriented agricultural regions of Brazil are dependent on the Amazon water cycle, and given its role as a huge CO2 sink, the Amazon region serves a key function in the global climate systems.

It has long been known that massive clear-cutting operations represent a serious threat to the Amazon rainforest. The fact that the tropical rainforest is also threatened by the impacts of climate change is less known. Temperatures and rainfall amounts are expected to become more volatile in the future. Furthermore, a global average temperature increase of 2°C could result in a local temperature rise of up to 4°C. This problem, and the rising frequency of extreme weather events, could overburden the natural adaptive capacity of the rainforest, leading parts of the rainforest to be transformed into savannahs.

The country profile above was found in the Meister Consultants Group study: Floating Houses and Mosquito Nets: Emerging Climate Change Adaptation Strategies Around the World.

Source: Dr. Hans-Peter Meister, I. K., Martina Richwein, Wilson Rickerson, Chad Laurent. Additional contributors: Jeff Snell, Elisa Burchert, Florian Lux. (2009). Floating Houses and Mosquito Nets: Emerging Climate Change Adaptation Strategies Around the World. Boston: Meister Consultants Group. p. 76-79.

For more detailed information and references refer to Floating Houses - Full Report.

Chile

Summary:

Chile’s territory is located in South America, the Antarctic and in the Pacific Ocean, which accounts for its great geologic, climatic and biological diversity. For geographic reasons, Chile is separated from the rest of South America: to the north by the Atacama desert (the world’s most arid desert); to the East, the Andes mountain range; to the West, the Pacific Ocean; and to the South, the Antarctic ice caps. This geographic isolation and the fact that it spans over 40° latitude from its northernmost to southernmost points bestow upon Chile very peculiar climatic characteristics, since Chile contains subtropical climates as well as sub-Antarctic and Antarctic climates.

Chile’s continental territory is located between 17º30' y 56º30' latitude south, on the western edge of South America. The total surface area is 2,006,096 square kilometers, of which 756,096 square kilometers correspond to continental Chile and its ocean territories and 1,250,000 km 2 to the Chilean Antarctic Territory. Continental Chile spans 4,300 kilometers from north to south. The average east-west distance is 232.5 km, making Chile the longest and narrowest country in the world. (Figure 4.1).

Its coastal waters cover approximately 120,000 sq. kilometers (not including its Antarctic territory). Chile’s territorial sea places Chile among the countries with the most extensive ocean territory with some 3,150,000 sq. kilometers. Furthermore, the State of Chile has sovereign rights over the Exclusive Economic Area (200 nautical miles) for the use, exploration, conservation and administration of the natural resources of the sea-bed and subsoil and the underlying waters.

Chile is divided into 13 administrative regions, from the First Region of Tarapacá in the north to the Twelfth Region of Magallanes and the Chilean Antarctic in the south. The great length of the country, the natural barriers formed by the mountain ranges and by the subtropical ocean currents in the north and the polar currents in the south provide Chile with its great biological and climatic diversity that can be seen not just from north to south but also from east to west.

The estimated population of Chile in 1998 was 14,821,714, with an average annual growth rate of 1.4%.

Colombia

Summary:

Colombia has a total area of 207’040.800 hectares, of which 114’174.800 are continental land mass and 95’866.000 are territorial waters. The island zones consist of a series of islands in the Pacific (Malpelo and Gorgona) and in the Caribbean (archipelago of San Andres and Providencia, and a large number of keys, islets and shallows). Pacific waters cover 33’930.000 hectares and Caribbean waters 48’936.000 hectares. This makes Colombia the fourth largest country in South America and the only one with Caribbean and Pacific coasts. There are five main natural regions on the mainland: Caribbean, Andean, Pacific, Orinoquia and Amazonia.

The greater part of the country enjoys more or less the same temperature ranges of an annual average of 24-28°C in the eastern zone of the Caribbean plains and a strip of the Pacific coast. Average annual temperatures of over 28°C are to be found in the lower, middle and part of the upper Magdalena valley. In a much smaller area, including Andean and Interandean zones, there is a variety of thermic levels due to the wide variations of air temperature at higher altitudes. The snow line, with temperatures lower than 0°C, is found above 4.600 m above sea level, and is the smallest of the land areas of Colombia.