January 22, 2022 6:16 pm

More investment is needed to adapt to climate change

The “Adaptation Gap Report 2021: A storm is brewing”Calls for increased funding and action measures to tackle the growing effects of climate change.

“As the world seeks to intensify efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it must also profoundly improve performance to adapt to climate change,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

A radical change

Even if countries “turn off the tap” on greenhouse gas emissions today, the effects of climate change will remain for decades.

“We need a radical change in what we hope to achieve in adapting to climate change, for funding and implementation to significantly reduce the damage and loss caused by climate change, “Andersen said.” And we need it now. ”

The report comes as world leaders meet at the UN climate conference, COP26, held in Glasgow, Scotland, with the aim of joining forces to limit global warming, in line with the Paris Agreement.

Currently, countries are on track to register a 2.7 degree increase by the end of the century. Even if warming remained at 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius, as indicated in the 2015 agreement, the climate risks would still be there.

UNDP Mexico/Emily Mkrtichian

Sargassum seaweed has ravaged some Mexican beaches.

Close the gap

The report notes that there is a urgent need to increase financing for climate adaptationespecially with regard to funding and implementation, to prevent existing gaps from widening.

The report notes that adaptation costs are likely to reach $ 140-300 billion a year by the end of this decade, and $ 280- $ 500 billion annually by 2050.

Furthermore, the estimated costs of adaptation in developing countries are estimated to be five to ten times greater than current public funding flows for adaptation, and the adaptation financing gap is widening. In 2019, these nations received some $ 76.9 billion in climate finance for mitigation and adaptation planning and implementation.

Recovery from COVID-19, an opportunity

The report also shows how countries are missing the opportunity to use the fiscal aid received for the recovery of COVID-19 to prioritize a growth of a “green” economy that also encourages adaptation to the effects of climate change such as the droughts, forest fires or floods.

Only part of the $ 16.7 trillion of fiscal stimulus worldwide has been earmarked for adaptation.

As of June, less than a third of the 66 countries studied had explicitly implemented COVID-19 measures to tackle climate change. Future public spending could also be hampered by the higher cost of debt service, combined with declining government revenues, especially in developing countries.

Progress and more measures

Although the development of national adaptation plans has been interrupted by COVID-19, progress is being made on national adaptation planning agendas.

Almost 80% of countries have adopted at least one adaptation planning instrument at the national level, such as a plan, strategy, policy or law. This is a 7% increase from 2020.

In addition, the top 10 donors funded more than 2,600 projects focusing on adaptation between 2010 and 2019; another indication that there is a greater effort.

However, despite these advances, the report concludes that we need to be more ambitious in funding and implementation.

The world needs increase public financing of adaptation through direct investment and by facilitating private sector participation.

More and stronger action measures are needed to implement adaptation to avoid falling behind in managing climate risks, particularly in developing countries. The world must also consider the most extreme climate scenarios reflected in the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, for its acronym in English).

In addition, governments should use the fiscal recovery from the pandemic to prioritize interventions that achieve both economic growth and climate resilience.

They should establish integrated approaches to risk management and establish flexible frameworks for disaster financing, adds the report; while advanced economies should also help developing countries free up fiscal space to promote an ecological and resilient COVID-19 recovery.


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