The effects of climate change in America have left Latinos in a state of vulnerability that will be exacerbated by global warming and rising sea levels, according to reports and experts consulted by Voice of America.
The “multiplier” effects of these events are highlighted as the state of Florida, in the United States, faces floods and storm surges due to Hurricane Idalia on Wednesday. made landfall in category 3and decreased in strength as it moved toward the southeast coast.
“In terms of Florida and the people who live here who are of Latin American origin, they are always more affected by risks and have a greater risk burden in society … this is determined by race , class, gender, age. That’s how we think about disparate risk,” said Jason von Meding, a professor at the University of Florida.
Daniela Stevens, director of the energy transition and climate program at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, explained the VOA that “record temperatures are causing effects on natural systems and on various productive areas affecting the economy and human health, especially the poorest households.”
Idalia, the latest example
Hurricane Idalia, described by the National Hurricane Center as “very dangerous,” affected a third state with largest Hispanic population in the USaccording to the US census.
In fact, a report of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published in July, shows that the effects of climate phenomena in Latin America are worsening due to the rise of global warming and sea level.
Over the past 30 years, the region’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade, causing extreme heat, drought and warming oceans.
This leads to hurricane seasons in the Caribbean, such as 2023, with a 60% chance of being “more active than normal,” as predicted by the National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In Latin America, according to the WMO report, climate change is causing floods and landslides that cause “hundreds of deaths and multimillion-dollar damages,” as well as droughts that affect food and energy production.
Countries such as Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile have reported an increase in forest fires, causing “carbon dioxide emissions to reach their highest levels in the last 20 years and, thus, temperatures will become more longer.” according to WMO.
Stevens explained that other areas, such as the Panama Canal, have seen an impact on their navigation due to drought and water stress. These events, he said, lead to climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean, which increases extreme poverty.
“Millions of people are experiencing huge impacts, as they have not been able to recover from the effects of droughts when unprecedented storms have destroyed crops, especially in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Crop losses not only cause multimillion-dollar damage to the gross domestic product, but also food shortages in countries that have not yet recovered from the effects of the pandemic,” the expert concluded.