Climate Change

Climate change adaptation: Cost to at least quadruple for developing countries in 3 decades

The current annual adaptation costs in developing countries are around $70 billion 

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 15 January 2021

The annual cost of adaptation to the effects of climate change for developing countries is estimated to at least quadruple by 2050, according to the United Nations Adaptation Gap Report, 2020. 

The currest cost for these countries is in the range of $70 billion (Rs 5.1 lakh crore) and may rise to $140-300 billion in 2030 and $280-500 billion in 2050, the report published on January 14 said. 

Adaptation cost includes costs of planning, preparing for, facilitating and implementing adaptation measures. 

The ever-increasing adaptation cost has also outpaced the growth in adaptation finance that refers to the flow of funds to developing countries to help them tide over the damages caused by weather events from climate change.

This, in turn, has kept the adaptation finance gap from closing with the current efforts, although the fund flow has increased, the report said. 

Adaptation costs, in actual terms, is higher in developed countries but the burden of adaptation is greater for developing countries in relation to their gross domestic product.

These countries, especially in Africa and Asia, which are least equipped to tackle climate change will also be the most impacted by it, the report noted. 

The world is heading for at least a 3°C temperature rise this century, according to current Paris Agreement pledges. Even if we limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, or even 1.5°C, these poorer countries will suffer, the report said.  

Moreover, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted adaptation efforts but its effect is not yet quantified. 

Last year was not just marked by the pandemic but also by devastating natural calamities like floods, droughts, storms, forest fires and locust plagues impacting around 50 million lives globally. 

The bright side, the report said, is that three-quarters of all the countries have adopted at least one climate change adaptation planning instrument and most developing countries are working on national adaptation plans.  

“I echo the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global commitment to put half of all global climate finance towards adaptation ahead of the next climate meeting,” said Inger Andersen, executive director, United Nations Environment Programme. 

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