Paraguay is very vulnerable to climate change because of its heavy dependence on commodities production and because its infrastructure, logistical capacity and services sector are still in development, according to a study by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The UN agency says that by the end of the century Paraguay could be losing 2% of its GDP annually as a result of climate change.
The document, prepared at the request of the Paraguayan government, evaluates the potential impact on the agricultural and livestock sectors, health, water resources and biodiversity.
As the country is heavily dependent on agricultural and livestock, the higher the temperature rises the greater the effect this will have on Paraguay’s economic output.
Hotter temperatures will bring more rains and lead to the outbreak of epidemics such as dengue and malaria.Water resources will not be decreased but there would be some seasonal variations and specific impacts in the northern and central Chaco regions, the report stated.
The impact of climate change on biological diversity could be significant, although the effects on fauna and flora are generally very complex and difficult to forecast, the study warns. Some species could benefit but others would become extinct, especially those that have a limited range of distribution.
There could be a repeated onslaught of droughts up until the middle of the century, the report says, while flooding would likely increase from around 2070.
However, the UN agency notes that environmental protection measures could limit the impact of climate change on agriculture.