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Step up climate change adaptation efforts or face huge disruption: UN report - United Nations

Glasgow, 4 November 2021 – As nations gather for the latest round of climate talks in Glasgow, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has called for urgent efforts to increase the financing and implementation of actions designed to adapt to the growing impacts of climate change.

The Adaptation Gap Report 2021: The Gathering Storm found that while policies and planning are growing for climate change adaptation, financing and implementation are still far behind where they need to be.

In addition, the report finds that the opportunity to use the fiscal recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize green economic growth that also helps nations adapt to climate impacts such as droughts, storms and wildfire is largely being missed.

“As the world looks to step up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions – efforts that are still not anywhere strong enough – it must also dramatically up its game to adapt to climate change,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “Even if we were to turn off the tap on greenhouse gas emissions today, the impacts of climate change would be with us for many decades to come. We need a step change in adaptation ambition for funding and implementation to significantly reduce damages and losses from climate change. And we need it now.”

Financing of adaptation remains weak

Current promises under the Paris Agreement point to global warming of 2.7°C by the end of the century. Even if the world limits warming to 1.5°C or 2°C, as outlined in the agreement, many climate risks remain. While strong mitigation is the best way to lower impacts and long-term costs, raising ambition in adaptation, in particular for financing and implementation, is critical to keep existing gaps from widening.

The report finds that the costs of adaptation are likely in the higher end of an estimated USD 140-300 billion per year by 2030 and USD 280-500 billion per year by 2050 for developing countries only. Climate finance flowing to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation planning and implementation reached USD 79.6 billion in 2019. Overall, estimated adaptation costs in developing countries are five to ten times greater than current public adaptation finance flows, and the gap is widening.

Posted on: 04 November 2021

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