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South America braced for economic hit from return of El Niño

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece in The Financial Times or enjoy below 

🗞️ Driving the news: As South America braces for El Niño, amplified by climate change and posing a potential $300bn blow to its economic growth, the World Meteorological Organization is advising immediate action from impacted governments to curtail human and economic losses.

🔭 The context: El Niño events cause a rise in the surface temperature of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, leading to global changes in weather patterns, notably temperature and rainfall variations
• These changes disproportionately affect South America due to its reliance on agricultural exports and its existing vulnerability to rising temperatures

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: The return of El Niño could intensify existing environmental crises like flooding, droughts, and wildfires, exacerbated by the ongoing climate change
• This holds serious implications for biodiversity, agriculture, and livelihoods in the region, and indirectly contributes to global environmental damage

⏭️ What's next: Nations across South America are rolling out emergency measures, with billions allocated to tackle the impacts of El Niño
• Efforts focus on improving drainage systems, constructing river defenses, safeguarding road networks, and managing potential disease outbreaks worsened by flooding

💬 One quote: "Strongly teleconnected countries — those linked to the same weather phenomenon despite their disparate locations — that are least culpable for global warming are disproportionately going to bear the costs of it, as well as the costs of natural climate variations like El Niño" (Justin Mankin, Dartmouth College).

📈 One stat: Economists estimate that the 2022 El Niño could cost the global economy $3.5tn in lost growth by 2029
• Past events in 1982-83 and 1997-98 cost $4.1tn and $5.7tn, respectively

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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