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Up in smoke?: Latin America and the Caribbean

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This, the second regional report in the series from a coalition of environmental and development NGOs, makes the case that largely regular and predictable temperature and rainfall patterns in Latin America and the Caribbean, are changing, becoming less predictable and often more extreme. It details the impact of climate change and environmental degradation in the region and argues that the capacity of natural ecosystems to act as buffers against extreme weather events and other shocks is being undermined leaving people more vulnerable.In particular it reports on:new evidence of the likely impact of water shortagesevidence of the impact of illegal logging and deforestationnew images of glacier melt in the Venezuelan, Colombian and Peruvian Andesevidence showing hurricanes and tropical storms are likely to increase in intensity across the regionThe authors call for a new development model for Latin America and the Caribbean to set the region on a path to sustainable development and to address the poverty and health impacts of environmental abuse and degradation.Specific recommendations for the international community include:greenhouse gas emissions targets must be reached in line with Kyoto and then progressively raised after 2012 to put industrialised countries on track to reach cuts of up to 80 per cent by 2050illegal logging and deforestation must be halted and assistance given to help the region achieve climate-friendly development national vulnerabilities must be mapped in detail, integrating climate-change-related risks with other threats. All policies and programmes should face the test of whether they will leave people in Latin America and the Caribbean more or less vulnerable to the effects of global warming. The test will be: is this climate friendly and climate proof?support should focus on community-based coping strategies and disaster risk reductionincreased support for small-scale agriculture is needed, along with an approach to farming based on maximum appropriate diversificationnew standards for the private-sector involvement in Latin America are required which include sustainability criteria