The 2015 Paris Accord reaffirmed the commitment of wealthy nations to contribute $100 billion a yearly to poorer countries to help them adapt to climate change-driven disasters. This is because developing countries, especially those in the Global South are more likely to suffer the worst effects from the climate crisis, despite their small contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions.
CNN’s Andersen stated that the Paris Accord states that adaptation and mitigation funding must be in a balance. “Those in poorer nations will suffer the most. Therefore, it is essential to ensure there is an adequate amount of equity as well as global solidarity for adaptation finance.
But the report found that $100 billion a year — a pledge which wealthy nations have so far been unable to achieve — isn’t even enough to match the demand. UNEP reports that adaptation costs will rise to $140-300 billion annually for low-income nations by 2030 and $280-500 billion annually by 2050.
According to the latest analysis, only $79 Billion of climate financing went into developing nations in 2019.
As the climate crisis worsens, adaptation measures become more important. Global scientists have said the world should try to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — a critical threshold to avoid the worst impacts. The report on Thursday suggests that this threshold could be breached sooner then previously thought, and some climate effects are already irreversible. Parts of the Northern Hemisphere were plagued by deadly floods, droughts and record heat waves this summer.
The report’s authors wrote that while strong mitigation is a way to minimize impacts and long term costs, it is crucial to increase ambition in terms adaptation, especially for finance, to prevent gaps from widening.
A little over 79% of all countries have at least one adaptation strategy, policy, or plan to reduce the impact. This is a 7% increase from 2020. 9% of countries without a plan or policy are currently developing one.
At a forum on vulnerable countries at COP26 this week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on wealthy nations, banks and shareholders to “allocate half their climate finance to adaptation” and “offer debt relief” for low-income nations.
Guterres stated that “vulnerable countries need to have faster and more easy access to finance.” I urge the developed world’s to accelerate the delivery of the $100 billion dollars needed to rebuild trust. It is essential for vulnerable countries to adapt and mitigate. [They]They are not the cause for climate disruption.”
According to the report’s authors, one way to address this is to use Covid-19 Recovery Stimulus Packages as an opportunity for green and resilient adaptation measures in developing countries. Authors say that despite the fact that the pandemic and climate change have stretched the boundaries of economic and disaster response, this report shows that the world is capable of adapting to the worst impacts of warming temperatures.
The adaptation gap report is timely as world leaders gather at COP26 in order to discuss how to keep the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius alive. They also need to ensure that wealthy, fossil fuel-generating countries continue to fulfill their promise to transfer $100 billion a year to poor countries, especially in the Global South.
Andersen stated one thing: “The longer that we delay climate action, then the more important adaptation will become, especially for the poorest, who are going be hit the hardest.”
Correction: This story has now been updated to reflect that the UNEP production gap report used 15 major economies’ plans to calculate a projection for the future global fossil fuel production.