San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Climate Change

Climate change already causing extreme weather, disappearing islands and less productive workdays, say experts

Amid one of the worst droughts in recent memory, Costa Ricans already are feeling the damage of extreme weather changes that come with climate change, experts said on Wednesday, at the Climate Vulnerability Forum’s regional workshop, held this week in San José.

“Central latitudes are getting drier but experiencing heavy downpours when it does rain,” said Matthew McKinnon, a specialist at the U.N. Development Program, who has been involved with the forum since its start five years ago. “Coastal erosion is causing some islands to disappear entirely.”

These disappearing islands already have been documented in the region’s waters, officials at the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) warned, and a larger threat looms for habitats in the region that lie beneath the ocean. Earlier this month, The Tico Times reported that experts expect the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – which runs from Mexico to Honduras – to collapse by the year 2060.

Conference attendees also warned of the more abstract effects of climate change.

“Climate change means 50, 60 or 70 hot days will happen each year,” McKinnon said. “We know from the science of ergonomics that when it is hot people work less effectively. By the end of the century these losses could represent significant proportions of GDP.”

Some research shows that once temperatures climb above 26°C (78°F), productivity falls by 2.4 percent with every celsius degree of increase.

Started in 2009 in the Maldives, CVF brings together the countries that have the most to lose if climate change is not addressed. Most of these countries are located in the tropics and near the equator, and they face threats ranging from massive decreases in food production to territorial loss from rising ocean levels. As a region, Central America faces threats to its biodiversity as rising temperatures kill off climate-sensitive species.

As the current president of the forum, Costa Rica is hosting the workshop through Thursday.

“The event is focused on identifying where in the region you can deal with climate change,” McKinnon said. “The biology of the problem is in disregard of borders and this allows countries to share effective methods at combating climate change.”

Home to one of the most drastic reforestation programs in the world, Costa Rica is seen as a regional example for battling climate change. Though the country has failed at crucial reform of its transportation sector, a necessary step to achieve carbon neutrality, Costa Rica has a pioneering system of paying landowners for environmental services on their property.

Since 1996, Costa Rica has used money from gas and water taxes to pay incentives for people to maintain the natural habitats on their property. Landowners can receive government funds for maintaining forest used for carbon mitigation, drinking water collection, preserving biodiversity or natural beauty for tourism or scientific study.

“This system is almost unique in the world and is really helping in restraining deforestation,” McKinnon said. “A lot of people would love to see this system implemented elsewhere.”


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Mark Kahle

Above 78 causes a slow down? What whack job thought that up? Better yet who in their right mind believes it but the under-educated or lazy idiot looking for some screwball reason ? Try working in Arizona and telling your boss you have to slow down on the roof because it’s 140 degrees up there. Say good bye to the job while your co-workers laugh you off the roof.

As to this part of your story:

“The event is focused on identifying where in the region you can deal with climate change,” McKinnon said. “The biology of the problem is in disregard of borders and this allows countries to share effective methods at combating climate change.”

The best way to deal with climate change is to get the hell out of the way of projects that will lower carbon emissions, increase green areas, create permanent employment while performing a true service.
When companies come to Costa Rica/Latin America to do just that they are met with a multi-layered cobweb of repetitive and redundant regulation that is so obfuscated in the bureaucracy that one can never be sure of compliance until the project is slowed down/shut down by some obscure “law” or regulation by some acronymed government dept. or NGO of which no one has ever heard.
The ones that are heard of will give you a time table for review but will NEVER be done on time always stating that they need “more information” and it is always unrelated to what you are doing. The ineptitude on the supposed “professional” level in Government and the lack of ability or willingness to operate on their own stated time table is debilitating and starting to make clean industry NOT come here and those that are here simply pack up and go due to the closed ears and minds in the (supposed) responsible dept. of government or oversight.
How about publishing a set of rules that list every department of Government you must deal with to accomplish it while setting a timetable that actually means something and doing this all in one type of office throughout the country.

It may sound as if I am harping or crying but that’s not the case…I love it here. But if Latin America truly wants to change then all they need to do is to truly change….. the way they treat people and businesses. A simplification of the permit process and a streamlining of the overlap and overburden of Government would be a wonderful first step.

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John Morris

Those of us living in Northern Florida would be happy with only 70 hot days. This week’s high as April draws to a close will be 89 F. From late May through September we’ll be fortunate to see less than low to mid 90s.

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Ignace Hilsberg

pura paja.

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