COP26: New Research Shows Latin American and Caribbean Countries Face Growing Climate Risks

Debt Relief Can Fund Climate Action, Says Religious Development Group

As climate talks continue in Scotland, new research shows that developing countries lack the resources to respond to the climate crisis.

"The Glasgow meetings are critical to protect our planet and the poor who suffer the worst impacts of climate change,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Climate-induced natural disasters and food shortages disproportionately affect developing countries."

Ahead of COP26, Jubilee USA Network and LATINDADD released the Atlas of Vulnerability, focused on 24 Latin American and Caribbean developing countries. The map and research found 75% of countries fall below the global average in country capacity to respond to climate change.

"Debt relief can be an effective tool for helping developing countries take action to respond to climate-caused challenges," noted Jubilee USA's Senior Policy Director, Aldo Caliari. Caliari was one of the authors of the new climate research and wrote a paper last year on debt, climate and pandemic response.

The IMF calculates that developing country costs to deal with climate change rises to $140 billion to $300 billion by 2030. According to the United Nations, half of developing countries pay more than 25% of their budgets servicing debt. In October, 48 vulnerable countries asked for a process to use debt relief to support climate action.

“Developing countries struggle with rising debt levels and responding to the pandemic,” added LeCompte. “Debt relief and additional aid are essential for developing countries as they fight climate change."

In 2009 wealthy countries promised $100 billion in annual financing to developing countries by 2020. According to the OECD, developed countries provided almost $80 billion in 2019 and according to 2020 estimates, it was unlikely that the $100 billion target was met. COP26 brings together delegates from 200 countries to agree on climate actions. The meeting in Glasgow, Scotland comes six years after the Paris Agreement, a deal to address the earth's warming temperature caused by fossil fuel use.

Explore the interactive Jubilee USA Network and LATINDADD Atlas of Vulnerability: Developing Countries and the Pandemic here.

Read highlighted findings from the Atlas of Vulnerability here.

Read the briefing paper "Atlas of Vulnerability: The Pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean" here.

Read the paper on debt and climate from Jubilee USA's Aldo Caliari here.