Configuraciones del territorio: desarrollo, desarrollismo, transiciones y alternativas

Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos
Argumentum. Vol. 7. No.2. pp. 32-58.
Universidad Federal de Espíritu Santo,
ISSN: 2176-9575
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18315/argumentum.v7i2.9556


El presente trabajo abre con una discusión sobre el espacio territorial como principal fuerza productiva estratégica, es decir, donde se cristalizan las relaciones sociales de producción, sus potenciales y contradicciones. Dicha argumentación es aterrizada en los procesos de territorialización del capital y sus implicaciones, dando cuenta de las nociones desarrollistas imperantes, incluso dentro de aproximaciones ambientalistas que derivan en el concepto formal de desarrollo sustentable. Desde ahí se sostiene que la acumulación de capital, que estimula ciclos ampliados de producción-consumo, impacta los territorios de manera asimétrica y en relación directa al rol que juegan los países en la división internacional del trabajo. Consecuentemente, se verifica una agudización de los procesos extractivistas sobre todo –aunque no exclusivamente- en los países en desarrollo. Posteriormente se revisa, de modo breve, la actual dinámica de despojo y acaparamiento de tierras y de los recursos ahí contenidos, así como de los procesos de “ingeniería de conflicto” y de resistencia social que en ésa confluyen. El análisis se hace con énfasis en América Latina. Finalmente, y reconociendo la existencia y necesidad de no transgredir las fronteras ecológicas planetarias, se cierra con una reflexión entorno a la posibilidad de (re)territorializaciones alternativas.

Palabras clave: territorio, medio ambiente, extractivismo, desarrollo, desarrollismo, transiciones, alternativas, américa latina


Latin American experts’ perspectives on adaptation and climate change

December 11th, 2015.
By Guy Edwards, Tory Hoffmeister, Kari Malkki and Kara Roanhorse
Climate & Development Lab
Go to article

Adaptation to climate change is a top priority for Latin America. The region is highly vulnerable to climate-related impacts, including coastal erosion with the rise of sea levels, and the intensification and frequency of hurricanes. These impacts are already imposing huge economic costs meaning adaptation measures are essential for countries, cities, the private sector, and citizens, to better manage climate risk, and build resilience.
As the negotiations in Paris to reach a new climate agreement enter the final stage, we share the following four commentaries by Latin American experts on adaptation in response to the follwoing questions:

1. Why is adaptation a key issue for Latin American countries? 2. How do Latin American countries want to see adaptation included in a new agreement in Paris?  3. How might the inclusion of adaptation in the new agreement interact with Latin American countries’ current national adaptation plans and strategies, and what is holding adaptation back in Latin America? Natalie Unterstell, Louis Bacon Environmental Leadership Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
"There is opportunity and urgency in dealing with climate risks in Latin America. Right now, roads, ports, and power grids that will determine countries’ use of carbon, water, and energy for decades to come are being built. Much of the planning and the decisions on these projects ignore the evidence of climate change. The risks are piling up, such as in the case of investments in hydropower plants, in areas that are highly exposed to climate impacts. Brazilian citizens are already paying more for their electricity as the government backs up the power grid with fossil fuels. This tackles short-term supply but does not provide an adaptation solution to power generation dependent on hydro. The public and private sectors have to learn how to adapt their decisions, otherwise assets may be compromised and taxpayers will have to foot the bill as climate risk mounts.

A global climate deal has to live up to the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius, but we must bear in mind the important link between mitigation and adaptation: the less mitigation, the more adaptation will be needed, while more mitigation means less adaptation. AILAC has been vocal in making this connection. A global adaptation goal could help countries use the long-term mitigation goal to increase resiliency to climate impacts. It should be dynamic, taking into account increasing warming, and scaling up the disaster risk reduction needed to minimize impacts and loss and damage.

Some actors are proposing cycles of national adaptation contributions synchronized with cycles of mitigation and finance. But treating adaptation through a pledge-and-review approach would be a mistake, distracting countries from building resilient economies through transforming powerful sectors that often oppose climate action. Investors must be convinced that global warming means potentially stranded assets if risks are ignored. It is encouraging to see that Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru communicated adaptation components in their INDCs. Yet, few spoke about the link between decarbonization and resilience of infrastructure or the need to climate-proof their mitigation efforts. This is a must, especially in the energy sector.

Brazil had been involved in a rich dialogue about how to adapt the country’s economy since 2013. Unfortunately, this dialogue was interrupted by the replacement of the Presidency’s team responsible for working on these efforts, just when decision makers were starting to understand their adaptative learning challenges. The good news is that such efforts produced valuable data that Brazil can now use."

Paola Vasconi R., Coordinator of Political Affairs, Adapt-Chile
"Climate change impacts are already being felt across Latin America, causing daunting economic, social and environmental losses. Adaptation is a vital issue for the region and one which requires significant resources. Several countries have drawn up plans and taken action on adaptation; however, due to lack of funding, they are not developing with the speed and force required. The social problems that beset the continent, such as poverty and inequality, increase the economic, technical and institutional difficulties, thereby slowing projects and hindering the development of studies that would create systems and actions to adapt to climate change.

The Paris Agreement should include adaptation and mitigation at the same level, favoring these measures and actions that generate synergies between both. Because it has been so difficult to establish a global adaptation goal, the new agreement should establish those instruments including mechanisms allowing access to knowledge, technologies, and funding to countries in the region to ensure its development and prosperity in a world that is more than 1.5°C warmer.

The inclusion of adaptation in the Paris Agreement should strengthen plans and actions that countries in the region are already driving, and accelerate the development of plans in countries that do not yet have them, as well as enable continuous updating. It should also ensure access to financial, scientific, and technological support, and promote cooperation between countries that share the same realities and challenges of adaptation."

Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos, researcher at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) and lead author of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report
"In Mexico, it has been acknowledged that it is highly vulnerable as 15% of its territory, 68% of the population and 71% of the GDP are exposed to adverse climate events. There is limited research on climate change, mainly on the basic science, which restricts planning capabilities, particularly at the local level. Planning, monitoring, and sometimes early warning and reaction capabilities to confront disasters are mostly incipient. The efficacy of these efforts are all hindered by gender inequalities that usually are not yet fully taken into account. Due to Latin America’s great cultural diversity, additional efforts are needed to generate a successful multicultural and multilingual education on such topics. This is even more important because such a significant share of Latin America’s land and the natural resources are under common or collective management. This feature could be seen as an advantage for implementing hybrid schemes. There is potential for an effective integration of top-down and bottom-up approaches for sustainable and climate-ready land-use planning and resource management.

Mexico wants to see adaptation included in a new agreement as a key aspect that demands both active and comprehensive cooperation from developed countries, and South-South cooperation. This includes international support for the development of technologies, as well as for technology transfer and innovation to increase adaptive capacities. Access to information systems to monitor hydro-meteorological events, the availability of methods and tools to assess climate impacts and vulnerabilities of specific regions or economic sectors, are among the areas identified in which technology transfer could benefit Mexico’s adaptation capacity. Funding is without doubt a bottleneck for Mexico and most developing countries on adaptation."

Javier Gonzales Iwanciw, Research Professor at the Nur University, Bolivia, and head of the Southern Node Climate Capacity Network 
"Some Latin American countries have consolidated adaptation frameworks to respond to climate impacts. Adaptation priorities for the region include the water and agricultural sectors and food security. Many countries in arid and semiarid regions are already facing difficulties with water provision systems, and there is widespread concern about industrial and food security crops suffering changes in rainfall patterns as a result of increased temperatures. Fears of the impacts of climate change on water provision, roads and coastal infrastructure are also pushing countries to make investments connected with adaptation and resilience.

A new agreement should ensure that countries receive adequate technical assistance, capacity building and transfer of technology, if requested. International public funding made available should be wisely used to reduce the technological gap between the North and South and to put global science to work for the most vulnerable. 

The vast majority of Latin American countries have not received support from the UNFCCC and its financial mechanisms to prepare National Adaptation Plans and ensure sound and transparent funding for their implementation. Many Latin American countries have organized the preparation of their National Adaptation Plans with their own resources, and some are lacking any kind of instrument or regulatory framework to advance this agenda. These countries do need technical support and funding from the UNFCCC and international organizations to ensure they put the right institutions in place."

A strong climate deal is crucial for Latin American countries to protect their economies and citizens from dangerous climate impacts. The global temperature goal of 1.5ºC must be included in the new agreement and backed up by a long-term mitigation goal that gives it teeth. The 1.5˚C trajectory will incur greater mitigation costs, but there will be important savings from reductions in adaptation costs.

Adaptation measures must be seen as constituting an opportunity for smart and more sustainable development. As the AILAC and Mexico adaptation submission suggests, adaptation can help raise mitigation ambition through the connections between the two. For instance, reforestation can decrease the risk of landslides while also increasing carbon dioxide sequestration. Mitigation actions can also help reduce vulnerability and strengthen adaptive capacity.

By adopting a long-term adaptation goal, the Paris agreement can help ensure that governments and the private sector address climate impacts and build resilience. This goal is central to a new agreement to demonstrate that mitigation and adaptation will be treated equally. This can serve as a key signal to planners and investors, especially for energy and infrastructure investments in Latin America, and can increase resilience and adaptive capacity to protect citizens and economies.

The adaptation agenda in Latin America is gaining momentum as the evidence of climate-related dangers grows and options for reducing climate-related impacts are identified and tested. Estimates for the region’s high adaptation costs provide policymakers with a sobering reminder that work on adaptation needs to be accelerated to reduce the expected costs of climate impacts.


Adaptación y mitigación urbana del cambio climático en México

Gian Carlo  Delgado Ramos
Ana De Luca Zuria
Verónica Vázquez Zentella
CEIICH-PINCC, UNAM. México, 2015. 
ISBN: 978-607-02-7092-5. 278 pp.


México se coloca entre los primeros 15 países emisores de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) al adjudicarse el
1.4% de las emisiones globales. Es altamente vulnerable pues el 15% de su territorio, el 68% de la población y el 71% del producto interno bruto están expuestos a los efectos adversos de cambio climático.
La presente obra aborda cuestiones conceptuales relacionadas con la vulnerabilidad, la adaptación y la mitigación urbana. Revisa a nivel internacional y nacional las dinámicas poblacionales y la de los asentamientos urbanos y su contribución en la emisión de GEI. Analiza también la denominada gobernanta climática a escala urbana en México, los co-beneficios presentes y el rol que juega la dimensión de género en la política de cambio climático. Asimismo, ofrece una serie de propuestas para conformar una planeación genuinamente integral dirigida a la transición y construcción de ciudades resilientes, y socialmente menos desiguales. 
La obra es útil para la toma de decisiones y favorece el debate entre especialistas del sector académico, consultores y otros profesionistas, así como para informar a estudiantes y al público en general. 


Ciudad y Buen Vivir: ecología política urbana y alternativas para el bien común

Delgado Ramos, Gian Carlo.
Revista Theomai. No. 32. Argentina, 2015.
ISSN: 1515-6443. pp. 36 - 56.


Hoy día 52% de la población mundial es urbana. Proyecciones para el 2050 indican que ésa podría ubicarse entre el 64% y 69% de la población total mundial (Naciones Unidas, 2011), momento en el que la extensión de la capa urbana se duplicaría o hasta triplicaría, dependiendo de las dinámicas poblacionales y económicas (Angel et al, 2011; IPCC, 2014). En tal escenario, la urbanización será más intensa en regiones que aún no han experimentado tasas importantes de urbanización y que al mismo tiempo prometen al menos un relativo crecimiento económico futuro (Naciones Unidas, 2011). Esto es, en Asía países como China e India esencialmente, pero también ciertas regiones de África que se colocan en esta dinámica pues al día de hoy tales continentes registran, en promedio, sólo un 45% y 40% de población total urbanizada respectivamente (Ibid).
No es menor precisar que tal proceso de urbanización ha sido histórica y geográficamente desigual pues el grueso de asentamientos irregulares, que suman el 32% de la población mundial urbana, están en los países pobres (Davis, 2006). En promedio el 43% de la población urbana de los países en desarrollo vive en dichos espacios, pero casos como el Chad, Etiopia o Afganistán, rondan el 98% – 99.4%; en contraste, en los países ricos, los barrios pobres cubren en promedio tan sólo el 6% de sus espacios urbanos (Ibid).2
En este panorama, es notorio que América Latina (AL) sea la única región del mundo “en desarrollo” con índices que promedian 78% de población urbana (UN-HABITAT, 2009). El porcentaje de población que viven en zonas de alta marginación es del 27% en promedio (Ibid), aunque es variable pues se estima en el orden del 19.6% en México; en 36.6% en Brasil; 33.1% en Argentina; 68% en Perú, por dar algunos ejemplos (Davis, 2006).
Dado el tipo de economía que caracteriza a la región, dígase primario-exportadora y en el mejor de los casos maquiladora, pero también a la inestabilidad de la misma y a los altos índices de inequidad (Delgado, 2011), el resultado de tal dinamismo urbano es que las ciudades latinoamericanas figuran como íconos representativos de inmensos y típicos (des)ordenamientos territoriales y con patrones de expansión han sido acelerados y, aunque los ritmos de urbanización de la región han decaído en los últimos años (la tasa de crecimiento anual promedio ronda el 1.8%), se espera sin embargo que ésa siga creciendo hasta alcanzar el 87% de población urbana para 2050. Además son ciudades excluyentes que representan un espacio de oportunidades sólo para algunos de sus habitantes.
Tomando nota de este escenario, a continuación se presenta una aproximación a los perfiles de consumo de materiales y energía de los asentamientos urbanos, metodología también conocida como metabolismo urbano; el caso se aterriza para algunas ciudades de América Latina. Posteriormente se analizan los conflictos de acceso, gestión y usufructo de los recursos, incluyendo la tierra, las asimetrías presentes y los intereses creados que están detrás de la conformación de las funciones del propio territorio urbano, su lógica y finalidad, dígase en beneficio de qué y de quién. El caso de la generación y gestión de los residuos en la Ciudad de México es expuesto para propósitos explicativos.
Finalmente se aborda la necesidad del planteo de nuevos paradigmas urbanos, no sólo de aquellos típicamente reconocidos en el ámbito de especialistas diversos, sino también de otros que abogan por un genuino buen vivir urbano y en general por el bien común de la humanidad (Daiber y Houtart, eds., 2012). En este último punto se sostiene que el metabolismo urbano, como potente herramienta analítica del ámbito biofísico, acompañado en todo momento de una visión crítica de lo socioeconómico, ambiental y político, como la que caracteriza a la ecología política (urbana), puede contribuir al proceso de construcción de alternativas y de rutas de transición. Se trata de un punto que, en efecto, obliga la discusión sobre el significado de lo alternativo, esto es, preguntarse, alternativo a qué.


Programa "Creadores Universitarios" sobre cambio climático

11 de noviembre de 2015

Creadores Universitarios: La Conferencia de las Partes o COP21; las consecuencias del cambio climático; la posición de México respecto al cambio climático. 
Duración: 00:27:29
Fecha: 11. Nov. 2015

Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos, CEIICH-UNAM.
Pedro Álvarez Icaza, CONABIO.




Interdisciplina - SUSTENTABILIDAD
Vol. 3. No. 7
CEIICH, UNAM. México, 2015.
ISSN: 2395-969X
Editores: Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos y Mireya Imaz Gispert




Editorial - Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos, Mireya Imaz Gispert, Ana Beristain Aguirre
La sustentabilidad en el siglo XXI

Editorial - Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos, Mireya Imaz Gispert, Ana Beristain Aguirre
Sustainability in the Twenty-first Century


Víctor M. Toledo
¿De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de sustentabilidad? Una propuesta ecológico política

Joan Martínez Alier
Ecología política del extractivismo y justicia socio-ambiental

Patrick Bond
Defensa de la sustentabilidad en África contra el extractivismo

African Sustainability Advocacy Against Extractivism

Lau Kin Chi
La sustentabilidad con justicia ecológica y económica en China

Sustainability with Ecological and Economic Justice in China

Sergio Guevara Sada
La sustentabilidad, rehén de la globalización y la fragmentación de la biosfera

Juan Miguel Rodríguez López, Pablo Rosso, Jürgen Scheffran, Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos
Teledetección del uso sustentable de tierra rural-urbana en la Ciudad de México: un análisis cualitativo para la confiabilidad y validación

Remote Sensing of Sustainable Rural-Urban Land Use in Mexico City: A Qualitative Analysis for Reliability and Validity

Jorge Adrián Ortiz Moreno, Sandra Luz Malagón García, Omar Raúl Masera Cerutti
Ecotecnología y sustentabilidad: una aproximación para el Sur global

David E. Chibras Guillermo
Sustentabilidad de la acuicultura en México: perspectivas desde un caso de estudio en la Costa Chica de Oaxaca

Arturo Escobar
Decrecimiento, post-desarrollo y transiciones: una conversación preliminar

Degrowth, Postdevelopment and Transitions: A Preliminary Conversation

Voces Cardinales - La interdisciplinariedad, consustancial al desarrollo sustentable

Lecturas Recomendadas

Reseña - Fabrizio Trocchia

Colaboran en este número


Food, Climate and our Cities

By Gian Carlo Delgado
Heredia, Costa Rica. 2015
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Socio-economic inequalities and vulnerabilities, the structure of spatial disparities, and the potential conflicts between urban groups and between urban and rural spaces must be acknowledged and recognized as key issues in long-term food supply (in)security within changing climate and environmental contexts.

The world is increasingly urban and yet the knowledge regarding cities and their food dynamics remains paradoxically limited. The information on how cities are fed and how the related waste is managed – the urban food metabolism – is largely dispersed, and most of the data comes from a top-down approach which hides local disparities and asymmetries between the rich and the poor. Ecological implications of intra-urban relationships and international commerce flows have also not been studied duly, and interdisciplinary knowledge gaps remain on food system vulnerabilities to climate change and environmental degradation.

This knowledge gap is problematic because understanding the political economy of food systems is a key prerequisite for appropriate climate-ready policy-making in the urban environment. More understanding is needed on the implications of external forces on food dynamics, the drivers of food security and food sovereignty, and the causes of nutritional food inequalities within urban/rural systems, to name a few themes. Moreover, the medium- and long-term effects of climate change could well shift food production seasons globally, disseminating pests and diseases and modifying the sets of feasible crops for local production and supply.

Climate change will certainly have an impact on food productivity and availability in the Americas. The question is how to determine the exact impacts, because the severity of climate change impacts on food systems is hard to predict due to the complexity and uncertainty of crop productivity under new environmental conditions. For example, the North American continental average temperatures are expected to increase 4o Celsius (C) at higher latitudes and 3o C for the continental US, and rainfall might increase in Canada and the Northeastern US but decrease in the Southwestern US and Northern Mexico.

Besides the impacts of repeated and more violent extreme weather events, higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns may affect both agricultural productivity and water availability. Sea level increases of up to one meter in coastal zones will also have important implications, not only to human safety but also on food production. Low-lying costal agriculture could be inundated, for example, as it is expected throughout Asia.

Climate impacts on fisheries are still uncertain, but will likely shift oceanic fish stocks northward. Temperature changes, sea level rise, and ocean acidification will affect catches – particularly in tropical and subtropical oceans, seas, and lakes – and increase the vulnerabilities of cultured fish. Climate can also exacerbate eutrophication (nutrient loading), causing phytoplankton growth and increasing the frequencies of harmful and toxic algal blooms.

Even if we don’t know exactly how humans will act in the short, medium, and long terms in dealing with climate change implications, anticipatory and adaptive measures can indeed be expected: farms changing locations; shifts in harvest dates; selection of crops with different sensitivities; agro-ecological techniques; irrigation or water harvesting systems; expanded production areas; mixing crops and livestock; diversification of producers’ income through industry or service sectors; and migration.

The social implications of climate change impacts on food systems will ultimately affect food availability and human well-being, particularly for poorer populations, among which children will be the most exposed. Small-scale food producers and their families, who are already struggling to survive, would likely be the first affected, experiencing greater hunger and misery (about 925 million people were still undernourished in 2010: 578 million in Asia and 239 in Sub-Saharan Africa). However, most urban systems will also be disturbed by some degree as well.

The social implications of climate change impacts on food systems will affect food availability and human well-being, particularly the poor.

As mentioned, a better understanding of the political economy of food systems is central for robust policy and decision-making, not only because of environmental and climate issues, but also because worldwide rural populations are decreasing and diets are becoming more energy demanding through mounting meat, diary, and pre-processed food intake.

Improvements in crop and livestock production have doubled food production capacity over the last 60 years, while increasing agricultural land by just 10%. Such productivity trends, mainly thanks to intensive fossil-fuel based inputs, will be hard-kept as we approach global peak oil. Gas reserves, an input in the production of nitrogen fertilizer, are also decreasing rapidly. Still, it is believed that by 2050 a 70% increase in agricultural production will be needed to meet business as usual global food demands. In this context, urban food demands are of special concern because urban populations, who have a higher purchasing power, are expanding. Increasing food quantities will need to be brought into cities and distributed throughout expanding urban areas, all within a context of climate change.

If business-as-usual practices are maintained, nations with emerging economies and rapid urbanization will see rising demands and thus some degree of food dependency. At the same time, prospects for feeding fast-growing developing cities do not look favorable, such as in Africa where per capita production of cereals has declined over the last 50 years, or Asia where the population keeps growing and where higher incomes are shifting food preferences and demand.

Thus, a lack of sufficient production capacity, rising energy prices and peak oil, disruptions in food production, and expanding and multi-scaled links of food-chain dependency will certainly be central issues to be dealt with in a changing world.

Urban and peri-urban food production units can supply as much as 85% of the urban basic food requirement, but this is not a clear-cut pattern and changes from city to city. Dependency, however, is clear in most of the cases, and makes the use of metabolic food assessment policy-advantageous.

Such an assessment offers a comprehensive state of energy and material inputs and outputs, in and beyond cities. The analysis encompasses subsystems of production, supply, distribution, consumption, social reproduction, generation/recycling of pollutants, and waste. Flows and stocks can be particularly analyzed from a climate perspective in terms of total direct and indirect production-based and consumption-based emissions.

Inflows and stocks of food urban metabolism cover land-use related aspects, production, uses (and misuses) of water, fertilizers and other agrochemicals, the operation and maintenance of storage, food processing and packaging facilities, transportation, energy, and other inputs and artifacts needed for preserving and cooking food. Besides non-used or final waste outputs, other outflows include food wasted during production: up to a third of total production – about 1.3 billion tons of wasted food annually. At the household level, while inorganic residues and packaging are the major solid outflow, organics usually represent 30-40% of residues and contribute to urban methane emissions.

With every harvest that flows into cities, rural or peri-urban soils export their fertility (mainly phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen), a condition that creates what has been called a negative urban nutrient footprint. At the same time, water demanded for producing food is exported to rural areas, creating an urban virtual water debt.

Organic solid residues and waste can however be seen from a nutrient cycle perspective as an agriculture input. In this sense, in an urban system – where informal settlements are often the public face of food insecurity – urban and peri-urban agriculture are worthwhile options, not only as a source for commodities but also as a factor to reduce environmental burden. Of course, urban agriculture in terms of food provision will be limited for most cases, but urban or peri-urban agriculture can “close” the rural/urban water and nutrient cycles, absorbing urban organic waste and avoiding the use of petroleum-based agrochemicals that demand substantial energy for production.

Adequate policies will be needed to avoid potential environmental and health risks. Several experiments of this kind are already under way or being promoted, mainly in Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. Where possible and feasible, actions are being initiated by local governments, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)’s Growing Greener Cities Program, the International Network of Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) Foundation, and others.

Agriculture accounts for 10-12% of total GHG emissions according to the IPCC, contributing about 47% and 58% of total anthropogenic emissions of CH4 and N2O respectively, both increased by nearly 17% between 1990 and 2005. This is an average annual emission increase of about 60 million tons of CO2equivalent per year (MtCO2-eq/yr). However, FAO’s estimates for livestock emissions are set at about 18% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions, a disparity that manifests a sharp underestimation of total food sector GHG emissions.

More recent estimations indicate that 14% of global GHG emissions are attributable to agriculture, and between 17-32% when considering land conversion effects. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from meat, milk, and egg production by 2050, using FAO projection scenarios, are expected to be 39% above of those reported in 2000.

It seems urgent to revisit food system dynamics in order to progressively decuple agriculture from fossil fuels and to develop resilient urban/rural linkages with regard to shocks and challenges from climate change, natural disasters, and social conflicts, or even international market disruptions and potential soaring food prices. Being able to respond means planning for more locally integrated and diverse production capacity, which for urban systems globally implies a profound paradigm shift. This is particularly true for some developed countries, where the energy used in getting food to the plate can be several times larger than its production.

Even more, since nations with prosperous economies and rapid urbanization might demand more food, particularly meat, dairy products, and pre-processed foods, it is central to realize that this type of food implies not only lower nutrient content but also a more energy-intensive and land-demanding production.

While animal calories already represent up to a third of total available calories in developed regions, emerging economies such as China have increased such type of consumption up to five times between 1961 and 2007, leading a global demand for animal products that has already produced up to 50% of total land demand and change during that same time.

Because of the above, it is evident that changing diet can certainly help mitigate climate change, and even more, it might be an essential response. Meat production costs are high in terms of the amount of feed required per kilogram of final product: it takes 9 kilograms (kg) of feed to make 1 kg of chicken meat; about 14 kg of feed per kg of pig meat; and 20 kg of grain per kg of beef. The infographic below illustrates the direct and indirect emissions and water footprints of various sectors and products.

Growing demand for meat, expected to be between two and three times its current levels, means greater pressure on productivity and land demand. It should be noted, though, that meat and diary consumption worldwide is uneven. While in US the per capita consumption of meat is estimated at about 100 kg per year, in India it is less than 6 kg yearly.

Current practices have not only contributed to environmental degradation, land dispossession and concentration, and oligopoly control of food production, technologies, and entire food chains, but also to malnutrition, lack of proper nutrients, over consumption, and obesity.

Food sovereignty has been proposed as a sustainable alternative in socio-ecological and cultural terms. It embraces, among other aspects, localized agro-ecological practices and well-informed, voluntary changes to diet in line with traditional culinary knowledge and good practices. Sustainable food politics will need numerous transition pathways to help to reverse uneven development, environmental degradation, and anthropogenic climate change. Transition involves a diversity of temporal and space scales, long-term integral planning, and concrete localized social actions that in turn demand greater democracy and ample participatory processes.

In addition, any evaluation of the ways in which urbanization and climate change may affect food demand and supply must take into account the complex linkages between rural and urban systems. Special attention should be given to the interactions between particular geographical regions and social categories, as climate change impacts will affect both systems and with a larger impact on low-income groups.

In short, socio-economic inequalities and vulnerabilities, the structure of spatial disparities, and the potential conflicts between urban groups and between urban and rural spaces must be acknowledged and recognized as key issues in long-term food supply (in)security within changing climate and environmental contexts.

Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos works at the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Sciences and Humanities of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and is member of the National System of Researchers of CONACYT-Mexico.

México ante la urgencia climática: ciencia, política y sociedad

Xóchitl Cruz Núñez, Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos y 
Ursula Oswald Spring, coordinadores. 
México, 2015.  350 pp.
ISBN. 978-607-02-7096-3


Ramón Pichs Madruga

Parte 1: visión desde el panel intergubernamental de cambio climático: impactos físicos y económicos

Apuntes introductorios
Úrsula Oswald Spring, Gian Carlos Delgado Ramos y Xóchitl Cruz Nuñez

El Buró del Panel Intergubernamental sobre el Cambio Climático (IPCC) frente al Quinto Informe Evaluativo: retos y logros. Aportaciones de México
 Antonina Ivanova Boncheva

Lecciones para México del Quinto Reporte del IPCC y forzadores naturales del cambio climático
(radiación solar y volcanismo) 

Blanca Mendoza y Juan Manuel Espíndola

Mitigación y el cumplimiento de los compromisos de México en materia de cambio climático
Xóchitl Cruz Núñez

Apuntes acerca del lugar del conocimiento económico en los análisis del IPCC 
Ángel de la Vega Navarro 

Parte 2: cambio climático, riesgos, impactos y respuestas

Migración ambiental: ¿una adaptación ante el cambio climático?
Úrsula Oswald Spring

La gestión del riesgo de inundaciones y los desafíos de la adaptación urbana al cambio climático: discursos
y respuestas institucionales 

Fernando Aragón Durand

Construyendo capacidad de respuesta urbana a la variabilidad y el cambio climático 
Patricia Romero-Lankao, Natalia Brutto, Manyu Chang, Jorgelina Hardoy, Rafael D’Almeida Martins, Kerstin Krellenberg

Cambio climático y urbanización: metabolismo y ecología política urbana en la construcción de ciudades resilientes
Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos

Parte 3: cambio climático, recursos y salud

Cambio climático en México: impactos esperados en la disponibilidad del agua
Agustín Robles Morua y Jaime Garatuza Payan

Impacto de la variabilidad climática en la disponibilidad de agua para producción agrícola en México 
Ignacio Sánchez Cohen, Gerardo Esquivel Arriaga, Miguel Velásquez Valle, Gabriel Díaz Padilla y Mariela Núñez Lares

Residuos sólidos municipales, ‘minería urbana’ y cambio climático  
Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos

El cambio climático: impactos, respuestas, avances y retos en México 
Ana Rosa Moreno

México ante el reto del cambio climático: una transición
a la sustentabilidad con equidad y desarrollo
Úrsula Oswald Spring 


Coproducción de conocimiento, fractura metabólica y transiciones hacia territorialidades socio-ecológicas justas y resilientes

Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos
Polis. Revista Latinoamericana
No. 41. 2015. pp. 1-9
DOI : 10.4000/polis.10957 


Desde una perspectiva del metabolismo social, o de la modalidad y dimensión del uso de energía y materiales por parte de la sociedad, se abre con una descripción panorámica de la crisis imperante, tanto socioeconómica como ecológica. Al subrayar que ésta es resultante de relaciones sociales de producción específicas en un contexto biofísico dado, se plantea la relevancia del conocimiento, en especial la coproducción de conocimiento, tanto para el diagnóstico robusto, como para la búsqueda consensuada de rutas de transición que apunten hacia territorialidades para el bien común cada vez más justas y resilientes.

Palabras claves :


Inequality and Climate Change: Perspectives from the South

Editd by / Sous la direction de Gian Carlo Delgado Ramos.
Dakar, CODESRIA, 2015, 204p.
ISBN : 978-2-86978-645-5

00 - Prelim(i-xii)PDF158.5 kb
01 - IntroductionGian Carlo Delgado Ramos (1-8)PDF140.1 kb
1 - The Socioeconomic Implications of Renewable Energy and Low Carbon Trajectories in South AfricaTara Caetano & James Thurlow (9-30)PDF251.8 kb
2 - Les migrants climatiques en Quête d’adaptation : les éleveurs Mbororo immigrent en Rd CongoFélicien Kabamba Mbambu (31-46)PDF131.5 kb
3 - Changements climatiques, genre, et inégalités sociales : les praticiennes de la médecine et de la pharmacopée traditionnelle en milieu urbain au Burkina FasoClaudine V. Rouamba Ouédraogo & Natéwindé Sawadogo (47-68)PDF167.9 kb
4 - Saint-Louis du Sénégal, les « aventuriers » de la terreAdrien Coly & Fatimatou Sall (69-82)PDF1.3 Mb
5 - A New Cartography of International Cooperation: Emerging Powers in Sub-Saharan Africa – The Case of Biofuels Promotion by Brazil in SenegalM.A. Gaston Fulquet (83-102)PDF159.4 kb
6 - Climate Change and the Urban Political Ecology of WaterGian Carlo Delgado Ramos (103-120)PDF579.4 kb
7 - Indigenous People and Climate Change: Causes of Flooding in the Bolivian Amazon and Consequences for the Indigenous PopulationGabriela Canedo Vásquez (121-136)PDF590 kb
8 - Gender-wise Rural-to-Urban Migration in Orissa, India: An Adaptation Strategy to Climate ChangeNirmala Velan & Ranjan Kumar Mohanty (137-170)PDF404.7 kb
9 - Effects of Climate Change and Heat Waves on Low Income Urban Workers: Evidence from IndiaSaudamini Das (171-189)PDF191.6 kb