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The State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) has announced a new US$63 million investment initiative for research on global climate change and its impact on Brazil.

Over the next ten years, FAPESP will offer US$6–7 million every year to climate researchers. FAPESP will also look to bring in other institutions to add more funding to the programme.

The two first proposal calls are for research on the development of a global climate model and on the causes, impacts and needs for adaptation to climate change. A US$10 million initial investment for this will be shared between FAPESP and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

"We hope to support research in several scientific areas, because real problems are interdisciplinary," Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, FAPESP scientific director, told SciDev.Net. Climate change can, for example, have effects on agriculture and human health.

The FAPESP programme will also finance the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) to buy equipment to develop global climate models. "A supercomputer will calculate worldwide temperature, humidity, winds, and more. This information will help Sao Paulo researchers to model how climate events are related to each other," says Brito.

This will be the first time Brazilian specialists will be able to harness such major processing power to develop global climate models, he says. According to Brito, the new instrument will generate scenarios that will be useful to both researchers and policymakers.

Previous research on global climate models predict that Latin America will suffer a loss of biodiversity, the reduction of agricultural production at the end of the century — mainly in the Brazilian tropical zone — a decline in water availability in arid and semi-arid regions, rising sea levels, and increased transmission of diseases such as malaria and dengue.

The FAPESP programme aims to help understand the causes of these changes and trends in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, and establish mitigation and adaptation strategies for the region.

"After the 2007 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, specialists began to pay attention to the importance of regional studies on climate change, especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The FAPESP programme will help to encourage studies on Brazilian vulnerability," Roberto Schaeffer, a member of the UN Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change and a senior researcher in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, told SciDev.Net.

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