Environmental Challenges One of the Millennium Development Goals

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1 Environmental Challenges One of the Millennium Development Goals Lecture # 20 Week 13

2 Structure of this class Recap Main environmental challenges Main questions A basic concept, and six facts pertaining Latin America Policy Who should pay?

3 Recap Latin America is characterized by: Considerable heterogeneity within and across countries Increased integration into the world economy Formation of regional trading blocks such as MERCOSUR Persistent inequality and poverty High degree of urbanization: more than 500 million people living in cities making a living in the industrial and service sectors

4 Main environmental challenges: Urban pollution Natural disasters Mismanagement of natural resources threatening terrestrial and marine biodiversity

5 Main questions How can Latin American countries, grapping with problems of economic growth and stability and still burdened by poverty, address environmental concerns? Is there a trade-off between a brighter economic prospects for the millions of impoverished in Latin America and the health of the environment? How should countries weigh the pressing needs of present generations against a clean environment for the future?

6 A basic concept and what we know Concept Notion of sustainable development : Current generations should meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations What we know (6 basic facts) The poor can promote environmental degradation & are also the worse victims of environmental degradation address the problem of poverty and inequality (last lecture) non-poor greatly contribute to environmental degradation, i.e., illegal logging leading to deforestation greatly threatening the environment

7 Megacities (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Buenos Aires) Main contributors of environmental degradation: water, air quality, waste Natural disasters Hurricane Joan, El Niño, Hurricane Mitch energy consumption and efficiency oil, coal, gas, electricity The forest The Amazon and the Mesoamerican corridor

8 Poverty and environmental degradation Soil erosion, watershed, and, most importantly, rural -urban migration affect the poor and affect the environment Poverty affects the environment because there is limited food, shelter, and employment in urban areas, and the environment gets contaminated with toxic waste On the other hand, the poor s health in urban areas is severely threatened

9 Non poor and environmental degradation Global emissions of CO2 (industry, cars..) Water and energy consumption (industrialization) Pesticide use in agriculture Tourism (unchecked water and marine misuse) Biofuels (controversy) Deforestation

10 Megacities two-thirds of the megacities residents live at or below the poverty line in one of many slums afflicted with a slew of problems Unlit highways run past canyons of smoldering garbage before giving way to dirt streets weaving through hundreds of slums sewers running with raw waste

11 Natural disasters Their effects on the poor are likely to persist because continuing migration towards coasts and megacities persists Preliminary estimates suggest that disasters occurrence will increase in the region

12 Energy consumption and efficiency Automobile and chemical production Maquiladora & lack of environmental standards Large-scale agriculture and deforestation (timber and paper) Oil, gas, mining and other exhaustible resources

13 The Forest - The Amazon - The Mesoamerican Region Both considered by International agencies as top priority for reducing global warming, and preservation of the environment in general, not just in Latin America but in the world

14 Amazon: about 7 million square kilometers covering: Brazil (60%), Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana Amazon rain forest: 7% of the earth, up to 20% of unsalted water in the planet, and is home to more than half biological wealth

15 Mesoamerica: Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, South and Central Mexico Highest levels of diversity on earth

16 Policy Market- based mechanisms Command and Control Measures (CAC) Capacity- building initiatives Corporate Social Responsibility Debate: Given the negative externalities Neoliberals: limited intervention, relying principally in the concept of no harm. Neoinstitutionalists: deficiencies in institutional capacity in maintaining environmental problems Neostructuralist: stronger role for direct investment on the part of the state to improve environmental outcomes

17 Who should pay? Shared responsibility (middle-income LA countries and industrialized countries) as both will share the gains Governments in LA are under tight budget constraints and expenditures in social programs are large indeed Managed to attract international support for up to 21.2% of funding in support of 367 projects promoting - biodiversity -climate change - international waters - ozone layer depletion most ambitious biodiversity project: consolidate the Mesoamerican Biological Project, launched in 2000, headquartered in Nicaragua. More generally: compliance with the Kyoto protocol is a most

18 Special thanks to Alejandra - Thanks to you all for your understanding and patience. Dealing with unexpectedly high number of students and heterogeneity has been particularly challenging Your contributions inside and outside the classroom will undoubtedly benefit my book for MIT Press Enjoy the break! Good Luck + Many Thanks to you all -

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