U.N. warns of rising costs to adapt

Vulnerable communities need help to cope with impact

December 06, 2014 11:38 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 05:44 pm IST - Lima:

The first > Adaptation Gap Report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released here on Friday says even with emissions cuts, costs of adapting to climate change are likely to be two to three times the current estimates of $70-100 billion per year by 2050.

The report says that failure to cut emissions will dramatically increase costs and new finance will be required to avoid a significant funding shortfall after 2020. Anne Olhoff, lead author of the report, said 29 experts from 19 leading institutions reviewed data for the report that primarily looks at gaps associated with long term global goals of adaptation. The Green Climate Fund could play a central role in bridging the future adaptation funding gap, she said. The technology gap spans across all sectors but are large in water and agriculture.

Saleemul Huq, member of the steering committee, said the funding was the easier part in the adaptation goal. The more difficult part is empowering the most vulnerable communities and make positive contributions. Adaptation funding needs are increasing rapidly and the issue of knowledge and adaptive capacity building is not just about money. Vulnerable communities are doing things on their own, he said.

[The adaptation funding gap can be defined and measured as the difference between the costs of meeting a given adaptation target and the amount of finance available to do so.]

The report comes at a time when countries in Lima are demanding an increasing focus on adaptation and funding and calling for a global adaptation goal.

The report finds that despite adaptation funding by public sources reaching $23-26 billion in 2012-2013, there will be a significant funding gap after 2020 unless new and additional finance becomes available. If no action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions is taken, the cost of adaptation will increase as wider and more expensive action will be needed to protect communities from the intensifying impact of climate change such as drought, floods and rising sea levels, the report warns.

The fifth assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) says that existing global estimates of the costs of adaptation in developing countries range between $ 70 billion and $ 100 billion a year globally by 2050. The report focuses on developing countries where adaptation needs are expected to be the highest and adaptive capacity is often the lowest. On the positive side, the report notes that the amount of public finance committed to activities with explicit adaptation objectives ranged between $ 23 to $ 26 billion in 2012-13 of which 90 per cent was invested in developed countries.

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