Latin American Program on Climate Change

Climate change is becoming a major impediment to the ability of Latin American countries to achieve economic prosperity and reduce poverty. In response to threats presented by climate change, many experts are calling on Latin American governments to start building long-term adaptation and mitigation programs.

The Latin American Program on Climate Change is a series of cross-cutting initiatives, jointly led by the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), also part of the Earth Institute, aimed at helping Latin American countries identify ways to adapt to the environmental and social impacts of climate change. Of particular interest are the Andean countries of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Experts have identified that farmers in this region are the most vulnerable to increasing seasonal variations and extreme weather events (i.e. floods, frosts and droughts) associated with climate change.

The program consists of research, training and monitoring. It aims to:

  • Identify, document and study atmospheric, hydrological, ecological and sociological issues that are emerging due to climatic events
  • Share scientific results with target groups, including government agencies and local partners and institutions
  • Engage in curriculum development at technical schools and universities in the region to help national governments increase institutional capacity and human capital
  • Establish Centers of Information on Climate Change to collect, store, process and broadcast climate, land use, demographic and other relevant information that can aid in decision making and the development of national policies
  • Raise general public awareness to help measure the success of the program and promote the use of more environmentally sustainable practices

This project is led by the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability’s director of international programs, Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez, in conjunction with IRI’s Walter Baethgan, Maria Uriarte of the Columbia Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology and EICES adjunct research scientist Vladimir Gil.