Argentina Leading Research Study

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Research Study: “Climate Models,” published by Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (CIMA-CONICET), Vicente Barros and Carolina Vera, 2015

In addition to being one of the top greenhouse gas emitters, Argentina is also one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Different studies have highlighted this point. For example the country’s geography and economy are at great risk. However, no study has approached the issue in such a large and comprehensive way as the ‘Climate Models’ which was created by the Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (CIMA-CONICET) as part of Argentina’s Third National Communication (TNC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Project. The study was presented in the Casa Rosada (the executive office of the country) in April 2015. It was a collaborative effort by a group of experts led by Vicente Barros and Carolina Vera.

The study had two primary objectives according to Vera 1.) Evaluate the present status and future of the climate in Argentina, 2.) Provide data about the impact of climate change on different social strata. The study was designed to serve as a management tool for all relevant stakeholders including the National Government, Provincial Governments, and Municipal Governments as well as private entities. To that end, a public access database was created and made available free of cost.

This study was extremely important for several reasons. First, it was a collaborative multi-stakeholder process that was funded by the World Bank, conducted by professors at the country’s largest university (University of Buenos Aires), and delivered as a presentation to government officials.  Second, it describes in clear and relevant terms some of the important changes that have occurred in recent years. For example, the average temperature in Argentina has increased .5 degrees in the last 50 years with a maximum of 1 degree change in Patagonia. To give a specific, tangible example of the consequences of these changes, the report points to this increase as one of the causes of a massive fire, the country’s largest, in Chubut in 2015 that burned 19,000 hectares of native forest.

The study also makes certain predictions based on current trends. Specifically, the country will experience an increase in average temperatures. The country will also see heat waves in the north and east of the country, reduction of freezing in most of the country and increased precipitation in the entire country. The report goes on to divide the country into four regions and delineates different histories and futures for each.

There is encouraging evidence that the Government of Argentina took heed of this study and incorporated it into its strategy. Most notably, the study is cited several times in the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution that was submitted in Paris. Now that the agreement has come into effect, it remains to be seen if Argentina can make good on its commitments.
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