The impact of air pollution on health also translates in very high medical expenses associated with respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, absenteeism, lost of productivity and serious damage to other living beings and the environment. In Latin America, the economic cost of the health impacts of air pollution is estimated between 2 and 4% of GDP.
It is also important to recognize the efforts carried out to reduce GHG emissions at the local level. Cities are responsible for 70% of the world energy consumption and for more than half of carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, international agreements arranged by local governments are paramount to reduce global emissions.
Recent developments in the international negotiations on climate change should lay the foundations for increased mitigation efforts. Local and national governments in Latin America have signed important international agreements to combat climate change and reduce air pollution. The Cancun Declaration, agreed in 2010 by the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), represents consensus among most Latin American countries to take mitigation actions. This agreement has defined two mechanisms to facilitate financial and technical transfers that are fundamental to build local capabilities for climate mitigation.