Climate Change: Why Nations Must Increase Action On Adaptation Finance

The world is sleeping on adaptation, even as the wake-up call nature is sending us becomes shriller.

This year, we saw temperature records tumble.

Again. We saw more floods, heatwaves, droughts and wildfires pour misery upon vulnerable communities.

The international community should be throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at helping developing nations adapt to these impacts. It isn’t.

This report tells us that the difference between the climate adaptation finance needs of developing countries and international public finance flows is over 50 per cent higher than previous estimates.

This puts the adaptation finance gap in the range of US$194-366 billion per year.

Without sufficient financing, implementation of adaptation actions is stalling.

The consequences are being lived by hundreds of millions of people – homes being washed away, crops failing and livestock dying.

There is a clear moral imperative to protect the people least responsible for the climate crisis, including the ability of coming generations to shape a livable future.

And the report makes a clear economic case for investing in adaptation.

Failure to invest in adaptation now will come back to haunt wealthier nations later, as they are being asked to face up to their responsibility for growing losses and damages.

Even if the promise made at the 2021 climate summit in Glasgow to double adaptation finance support to US$40 billion per year by 2025 were to be met – and this doesn’t look likely – the finance gap would fall by only 5 to 10 per cent.

So, we need to deliver more finance – by strengthening international public flows, yes, but also by private sector engagement and a reform of the global financial architecture, among other routes highlighted in the report.

Visionary climate scientist Saleemul Huq, who tragically passed away last week, was instrumental in pushing the issues of adaptation and loss and damage higher up the climate negotiation agenda.

As he put it: “Every day, every week, every month, every year from now on, within our lifetimes, things are going to get worse. Not a single country in the world is prepared.”

Saleemul and others like him, have been warning for years that climate disruption will be with us for decades and we must get ready.

So, at the climate talks in Dubai, COP28, the world must agree on how to deliver the necessary finance to protect low-income vulnerable countries and disadvantaged groups.

The alternative is more misery, more disruption and far larger invoices payable from developing nations in the years ahead.

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