As one of the most biodiverse countries on earth, Peru has a lot at stake when it comes to climate change resolutions. It’s estimated that climate-related damages could cost the country as much as 30 percent of its GDP.
While it has the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers (which lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn), Peru has already seen a 39 percent loss in glacier mass due to a 0.7 temperature rise in the Andes between 1939 and 2009.
From illegal logging and mining to mercury poisoning and melting glaciers, the country faces multiple menaces to its vast natural resources. Peru has the world’s fourth-largest area of rainforest, and deforestation accounts for more than 40 percent of the country’s carbon emissions. According to environment minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, approximately 20 percent of these emissions are generated by ranching and farming. As it stands, the Peruvian Amazon is now emitting more carbon dioxide than oxygen.
But there are some encouraging endeavors underway to help reverse that trend. Just before the U.N. Climate Conference, Peru announced that it will be devoting $6 billion to clean energy initiatives. The incipient market of forest carbon credits is also making headway in this South American country. Correspondent Dan Collyns reported this story from Lima, Peru.