How to Address Climate Change and Conflict in South America

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The United States and Latin America need to consider the interactions of climate change, environmental degradation, migration, and conflict in the Amazon; the tropical savannahs of Brazil—the Cerrado—and Bolivia; the Andean highlands of Peru and Bolivia; and the arid coastal plain of Peru. These regions represent the major geographic and climatic regions of the continent, encompass the range of socioeconomic trends reshaping the region, and capture the new heartland of the continent’s illicit economies, including the global cocaine trade.

The natural wealth of the Amazon and the Andes is a crucial strategic resource. The Amazon is central to the regional and global climate and contains priceless biodiversity. The mineral wealth and energy resources of the Amazon and the Andes are also important contributors to the global supply chain and the macroeconomic growth of the region. Further, the Amazon and the Cerrado have adopted a crucial role in regional and global food security. Finally, the rivers and glaciers of the region are fundamental to the energy security, water security, and agricultural health of much of South America.

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