Seven Out of 10 Latin Americans Say Climate Change Impacts their Economy

According to a survey by the European Investment Bank, the majority of Latin Americans will suffer the effects of climate change in their daily lives, with higher percentages in Uruguay and El Salvador

Río Pardo durante el estiaje en Caconde, estado de Sao Paulo, Brasil.
September 09, 2023 | 12:00 PM

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Bloomberg Línea — Most inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean perceive the effects of climate change in their daily lives, but seven out of 10 indicate that this phenomenon is affecting their economy, according to the European Investment Bank (EIB).

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The financial organization conducted the survey on climate in Latin America and the Caribbean in May 2023, with the participation of more than 10,500 individuals from 13 countries in the region.

Ninety-one percent of respondents reported feeling the effects of climate change in their daily lives, with high percentages in Uruguay (84%) and El Salvador (96%). In addition, 70% indicated that climate change negatively affects their income or source of livelihood. The majority share this opinion, with figures ranging from 58% in Uruguay to 77% in Peru.

Climate change is one of the challenges facing most countries in the region, along with violence and crime, poverty, unemployment and social inequalities.

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Moreover, this escalating phenomenon is leading individuals to consider moving to other countries. According to the EIB, in nine of the 13 countries surveyed, more than half of the population believes this to be the case (from 50.5% in Argentina to as many as 61% in Ecuador). This decision is strongest among the youngest, with 59% support.

There is also a majority (88%) in favor of governments implementing stricter measures to combat climate change; as well as 80% who believe that their country should prioritize investments in renewable energy over fossil fuels or other non-renewable energy sources.

Fifty-one percent of respondents prefer large-scale renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectric, wind, solar or geothermal power plants, while 29% prefer rooftop solar panels or small hydroelectric plants.

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Climate change deniers

Despite widespread awareness, the region has a low percentage of climate change deniers, with an average of only 5% per country.

Argentina is the country with the highest rate of denial (9%), which contrasts with the consequences of the phenomenon already suffered by that country, where 24% of respondents have already suffered water shortages in situations such as scarcity and conflicts over water resources.

Similarly, 60% of Argentines believe that policies to address climate change that can be generated by the state will be a source of economic growth and wealth for their country, and the same percentage estimates that they will create more new jobs than the existing jobs that will be destroyed.

On the other hand, Costa Rica registers a rate of less than 2%: among the Costa Ricans surveyed, 94% say they feel the effects of climate change in their daily lives, and 64% say it affects them “a lot”.