Responding to climate change is a matter of “adapt or die” according to Emma Howard Boyd, the chair of the UK Environment Agency. Although COP26 focuses a lot of attention on reducing greenhouse gas emission and mitigating the crisis in the immediate future, these gases already have dangerous levels in the atmosphere and will continue influencing the climate for many decades. It is equally important to adapt to the increasing floods, droughts, and heatwaves.
These effects of climate change are already affecting communities around the world. Many countries have developed. national adaptation plansto improve infrastructure resilience. However, most countries in the Global South struggle to implement these changes without additional funds.
Several African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, have offered to accept the proposal. a finance deal at COP26 – the UN climate change summit in Glasgow – which would channel US$700bn (£520bn) every year from 2025 to help poorer countries build barriers which could alleviate coastal flooding for example, and install solar-powered irrigation systems for growing food.
Between 2014 and 201857% of sub-Saharan Africa’s adaptation finance was obtained via loans from wealthy countries or the World Bank. Only 42% of the money was received through grants. Loans increase debt burden for already-debted countries.
A new reportUN Environment Programme has shown that the cost of climate change in developing countries is five to ten times higher than the amount public aid has been raised. For example, Zimbabwe dedicates 9% of its GDP for adaptation efforts. However, the need is greater than the expenditure in developing countries by around 80%.
This gap is growing. Delaying adequate funding will lead to higher costs in the long-term and expose more people and more people to greater risk.
The benefits of funding adaptation
Despite the fact that 79% of countries have some form of national adaption plan, it is not enough.
Even in a wealthy country like the US, almost a quarter of roads and other critical infrastructure – from hospitals to police and fire stations to wastewater treatment plants – are at risk of inundation by flood water if they aren’t adapted, according to a recent report. Cities all over the globe are not prepared. Two hospitals in east LondonAfter torrential rains caused severe flooding in July 2021, I had to advise patients to stay away.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, US$16.7 trillion has been spent by governments on fiscal stimulus. This is significantly less than the amount governments have channeled towards climate adaptation over recent decades. However, properly funding adaptation to climate change can also benefit public health by slowing environmental changes that breed disease outbreaks.
Research in LaosIt was found that investing in drought-resistant and flood-resistant rice seed increased profits by 78%. It is possible to make a lot of money investing in climate adaptation projects. USD 7.1 Trillion could be generated if USD$1.8 trillion is invested in things like storm early warning, mangrove forest protection, strengthening buildings, and dryland farming. total net benefits. Private sector funding could be available, as it has so far provided little.
Funding adaptations to climate change is not about giving money – it’s about ensuring countries can limit the damage from climate change and seize the opportunity to develop sustainably in a warming world.
This story is part of The Conversation’s coverage on COP26, the Glasgow climate conference, by experts from around the world.
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