Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Climate Adaptation Gap Grows Wider

Farmland left arid by drought in Mali, West Africa. (Image Credit: Curt Carnemark/World Bank via Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
The cost of coping with climate change in the developing world has just gone up.  According to a new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), it may have increased five-fold.

By 2050 the cost of adapting to the impact of rising sea levels, greater extremes of heat, changing seasonal growth patterns, drought, and potentially more intense, or more frequent, floods and storms is set at between $280bn and $500bn a year.

The last such study, by the World Bank in 2010, estimated the annual costs between 2010 and 2050 as being from $70bn to $100bn a year.  But the new report, written by authors from 15 institutions and reviewed by 31 experts, takes a closer look, building on the earlier estimates by examining national and sector studies.

Innovative financing
And that figure, the report says, is the adaptation finance gap − that is, the difference between the financial costs of climate change and the money actually available to meet those costs.

“It is vital that governments understand the costs involved in adapting to climate change,” says Ibrahim Thiaw, deputy executive director of UNEP.  “This report serves as a powerful reminder that climate change will continue to have serious economic costs.

“The adaptation finance gap is large, and likely to grow substantially over the coming decades, unless significant progress is made to secure new, additional and innovative financing for adaptation.”“

On an almost daily basis, researchers emphasize this urgency of action to help the poorest and most vulnerable.  On the heels of the UNEP report, a separate study warns that the kind of heatwave normally considered “unusual” in tropical Africa could, by 2040, happen every year, with terrible consequences for crop harvests and for human mortality.

Scientists report in Environmental Research Letters that by 2075 the so-called “unusual” heatwaves could occur up to four times a year, as global average temperatures rise.

Read more at Climate Adaptation Gap Grows Wider

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