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Contribution to Book

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From Extraction to Emancipation Development Reimagined

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Guatemala perfectly illustrates the climate justice paradox: the countries that contributed least to climate change, and have lower financial and technological capacity to implement timely climate action, are often among the most vulnerable to climate impacts. Guatemala has barely contributed to greenhouse gas emissions (GhGs) that cause climate change. Yet the country is suffering from the effects of climate change. In 2005, Tropical Storm Stan caused more than 1,400 deaths, and over one half million affected in Guatemala, 70 percent of whom were indigenous peoples, causing U.S. $989 million in economic losses. In 2010, tropical storms Alex, Agatha, Frank, and Matthew killed 262 Guatemalans, injured 778, required the evacuation of 243,000 homes, and left another 76,000 homes damaged. Estimates are that 723,000 people were affected in the country, and the economic damage was U.S. $1 billion only for Agatha (Bosque 2011). Guatemala’s Homeland Security Unit for Disaster Reduction reported that in 2015 almost one million Guatemalans were affected by floods and landslides resulting from tropical storms, with 290 fatalities (República de Guatemala 2015a). In 2016, the Dry Corridor in Central America—affecting Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—experienced a severe drought that left 1.5 million Guatemalans in need of humanitarian assistance.


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