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Southern Chile Environment
|Chile, South America and the UN Global Warming Report|
|Southern Chile Environmental Issues|
The Global Warming verdict is in for Chile. Well, at least as much as it will ever be regarding the debate over Global Warming. What does the UN Global Warming report say about South America, Chile, and southern Chile in Particular?
The recent UN report on Global Warming was released with much media controversy regarding the way the language of warnings would be skewed by the political interest of United States, China, and a few others. So, for Chile and South America we all need to read between the lines a bit.
In spite of the watery version of the report that was finally released, there was some strong language regarding the strength of the evidence and disasters to come. The good news is, that relatively speaking, Chile will see little impact; however, the effects of Global Warming will be felt in Chile in more than simply warmer temperatures.
Cause for concern
There will be a rise in average temperature in Chile, as in the rest of South America. A recent University of Catholica study concluded that Chile will see an overall rise in Temperature of about 4 degrees Celsius. This is keeping with the overall predications for Global temperatures given by the UN Global Warming report.
This will have more impact on the North of Chile, and aired areas in the Central Part of Chile. Those parts of Chile already have issues regarding the stresses on the water system both from the aired nature of the climate and the growth in population. The Chilean government has been managing water rights in those areas carefully for years. Real Estate properties without water rights in the wine valleys for instance are essentially worthless unless the water rights are registered. This includes wells that tap in to the water table.
For the south of Chile this will mean shrinking glaciers, less snow in the mountains, and less rain. That said, Southern Chile already has a lot of rain. The increase in temperature, as mentioned in the UN report, may actually increase the growing season and benefit the south of Chile as new agricultural lands become available.
The real cause for concern is not so much Chile. Chile is a relatively large country, with diverse climates, good economic and political stability, and has the resources to respond to natural disasters and implement plans.
The real problem is the neighbors in South America. The UN reports that neighboring countries like Argentina will loose millions of hectares of arable land to drought. Much of the Argentina's water shed is located in the Andes. It needs the run off from the mountain snow packs, as little rain falls on the Argentinian side of the mountains. Without that water, the agricultural and perhaps the political situation in Argentina will become very unstable.
A similar situation awaits the over populated neighbor of Brazil. The Amazon river basin is heart of the Brazilian economy, and thus its politics. Even moderate changes to that massive ecosystem, would result in millions of people suffering.
The economic and political impacts of Global warming are predicted to effect besides Brazil and Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Venezuela, Equator, Guyana, and Suriname. Surprisingly, the UN reports that Peru will not be that bad off.
What impacts the economies and political stability of the rest of South America, will have an impact on Chile. Chile is already feeling the impact of immigration from neighboring countries' existing political instability such as in the case of Peru and Bolivia, and has implemented limits on immigration from other South American Countries. This is mostly for unskilled labor currently.
What Chile will see more and more of according to the UN report are people from other South American countries literally looking for greener pastures on the Chilean side of the Andes. The challenge for Chile will be to manage that influx, without going the overly protectionist route as in the case along the border between the United States and Mexico.
The one security that Chile really has is that it is a very large country geographically and has a very small well educated population. Chile is perhaps in a better position to adapt to such changes than any other country in Latin America, and especially South America.