Colombia’s Minister of Environment told local media his country is “saddened” by US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States, which is the world’s second-largest CO2 emitter, from the Paris Climate Accord.
Luis Gilberto Murillo claimed that Trump’s decision increased Colombia’s vulnerability to climate change and will make it more difficult to advance toward an international goal to avoid a 3.6º F increase in global temperatures.
The Paris Accord is a conceptual change in international negotiation, the agreement is one of the most important multilateral achievements in recent years, for the first time in history a legally binding and universal agreement was reached that allows us to join together to solve the issues associated with climate change. That is why we are so saddened by this decision.
Minister of Environment – Luis Gilberto Murillo
Nearly 12 million Colombians are directly threatened by climate change and at risk from natural disasters like flooding and landslides, the environment minister said previously to Reuters.
Already climate change has been implicated in natural disasters occurring this year that killed at least 328 people and wiped out entire neighborhoods in the southern city of Mocoa.
While poor land use certainly contributed to the disaster, Martin Santiago, UN chief for Colombia, told local media that climate change played a central role as well in creating the necessary conditions.
Furthermore, rising temperatures due to global climate change have reduced Colombia’s glaciers by almost 20% over the past six years. At this rate, the Andean nation will be lose its tropical glaciers within 25 years, threatening water supply in certain regions of the country.
Within 35 years the country is expected to face serious water shortages. The combination of deforestation, illegal mining and climate change have already begun to shrink Colombia’s water resources.
The shrinkage of these natural reservoirs will cause problems particularly for rural areas of the country, as farmlands will begin to experience more drought.
During 2015 the Paris Climate Summit, Colombia reiterated its pledge to bring the Amazon deforestation rate down to zero by 2020.
However, the South American country still suffers from high levels deforestation in the Amazon region, particularly due to advancing agricultural lands, cattle grazing, illicit crop cultivations and expanding illegal road networks.
According to the South American country’s meteorological institute IDEAM, 95% of the country’s deforestation is concentrated in 30 municipalities, 60.2% of which is in the Amazon.