In 2022, the effects of the global climate crisis will cause a loss of 1.8% of the gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide, and the results for 2023 are expected to exceed that figure. According to a report from the Climate Change Hub at the University of Delaware, in the United States, it is estimated that the world is $1.5 billion poorer than without climate change. According to the study, the GDP losses mostly fell in the developing countries of the southern hemisphere.
Researcher Lykke Andersen, from the Institute of Advanced Development Studies (Inesad), participated in the study “The economics of climate change in the Plurinational State of Bolivia,” funded by the IDB and ECLAC. According to simulations conducted from 2010 to 2100, the effects can cause an average loss of 8% of GDP, although the century ends with 16%, mainly due to floods.
The impacts calculated in this report are based on two scenarios: with and without climate change, carried out by the Regional Climate Provider for Impact Studies (Precis), in which a temperature rise of up to 5 degrees Celsius is predicted in some regions of the country, a decrease in rainfall in the southern Altiplano, and an increase in the northern plains.
“The problem in the simulation is water. Floods and shortages in some areas. But not so much because of climate change, but because of the expansion of the agricultural frontier that requires a lot of water for irrigation. You need to plan carefully where you are going to expand (agricultural) activities, because in some places there is not enough water to continue doing it,” Andersen said.
Pollution per capita
Economist Roger Banegas accessed the study on the economic impact of NDC mitigation measures in Bolivia, where he analyzed some variables such as carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita. He emphasized that in Bolivia it will be 13 tons in 2022, almost the same as an American, which emits 15 tons in the same period, while in neighboring countries such as Chile or Colombia, they emit an average of six tons per year.
“But if we compare the per capita income level, Bolivia is 10 times lower than the per capita income of the United States. That indicates that our productive system is based on acquisition activities such as mining, oil, gas, or expansion of the agricultural frontier, which are the main pollutants,” he stated.
At the same time, he emphasized that climate change has contributed to prolonging periods of drought in some regions and flooding in others, with a direct impact on the economy, which, in a conservative scenario, affects 3% of GDP. “An example is last year’s chaqueos in Santa Cruz, which became the most polluted city in the world,” Banegas said.
Loss of oil seeds
The Association of Oilseed and Wheat Producers (Anapo) stated that due to the drought alone, the soybean sector has lost, in recent years, approximately 400 thousand tons of soybean grain per year, which in the economy means a loss of $US 160 million per year. During the severe drought in the summer and winter campaigns, about 500,000 hectares were affected.
“We consider that the government should speed up the political decision so that Bolivia enters the era of biotechnology, as is done in Mercosur countries such as Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay, where producers have full access to biotechnological events over the years,” stated the soybean union when referring to genetically modified seeds.