Peru Climate Change: Geographic & Economic Vulnerability

Geographic & Economic Vulnerability

Peru is at a geographical disadvantage; it is already a warm country and subject to droughts and extreme weather such as the devastating El Niño of 1998. El Niño is a warming of the ocean current along the Peruvian coast that causes changes in the region’s weather patterns; a major El Niño event generally occurs every three to seven years.

A further disadvantage for Peru is that 70% of its population and most of its economic activity is concentrated along the Pacific coast. The Pacific coast is a desert with high demand for water, yet water supply in Peru is ever diminishing due to glacial melt.
Inland Peru is equally vulnerable to climate change, the mountainous terrain means most towns are found in valleys which are vulnerable to extreme weather, illustrated by the loss of life in floods in Ayacucho in December 2009.

Peru’s dependence on agriculture exacerbates these risks. Agriculture is very sensitive to climate change in terms of temperature increase, weather variability and water shortages. Peru is heavily dependent on agriculture both domestically and for its export economy.

While most nations see the impacts of climate change as a future issue, they are being felt right now in Peru.

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