Trickling Down: Latin America's Glacier Problem

A new study shows glaciers in the tropical Andes have shrunk 30-50 percent in the last four decades. Glaciers provide a vital water source to parts of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Additionally, Brazil is investing in hydropower in Peru and that power source is likely to be impacted significantly by reduced glaciers. That means higher electricity costs for Peru and less chance that Peru will be able to export energy to Brazil. The bigger problems for Brazil will be political. For Peru and Bolivia in particular, the loss of glaciers is likely to dry up drinking water supplies and harm agricultural output, which can affect political stability. For a Brazilian hegemon hoping to lead the continent, that sort of systemic political risk becomes their problem rather quickly.

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