Governments must step up climate change adapation, warns UN

Governments across the world must step up climate change adaption or they risk facing serious human and economic damage, warns a new report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 

Almost three-quarters of all nations have some climate adaption plan in place, but according to the report, the finance and implementation of these plans fall far short of what is needed.

International public adaption finance is slowly rising from $30bn annually, yet according to the report, adaption costs in developing costs are estimated to be $70bn.

The authors outline that nature-based solutions and locally appropriate actions that address societal challenges must also become a priority.

The report finds that there are some encouraging developments, for example, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has allocated 4% of its total portfolio to adaptation and is increasingly crowding-in private sector investment.

However, according to the authors of the report, increased public and private adaptation finance is needed.

UNFCCC executive secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said: ‘This report shows that, with respect to building adaptation and resilience against climate change, it’s like we’re going into battle blindfolded with one arm tied behind our backs.

‘This is not how we achieve success. Instead, this report should illuminate the path ahead.

‘It helps highlight the areas where more work is needed and underlines the fact that the Paris Agreement is our blueprint for long-term success. Progress is urgently needed. Less than 10 months remain until COP26. Our work up to that point will be instrumental for all countries to raise adaptation ambition.’

Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, added: ‘The hard truth is that climate change is upon us.

‘Its impacts will intensify and hit vulnerable countries and communities the hardest – even if we meet the Paris Agreement goals of holding global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.’

‘As the UN Secretary-General has said, we need a global commitment to put half of all global climate finance towards adaptation in the next year.

‘This will allow a huge step up in adaptation – in everything from early warning systems to resilient water resources to nature-based solutions.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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