Climate Change

CoP26: Adaptation costs increase as fund flow slows down

The latest UNEP Adaptation Gap Report says that adaptation costs and financing needs in developing countries are five to 10 times greater than current finance flows  

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 04 November 2021

The latest report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the state of climate adaptation has said the world is not well-prepared to make provisions to adapt to climate change, which is irreversible.

“The growth in climate impacts is far outpacing our efforts to adapt to them,” the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report: The Gathering Storm, said.

The costs of climate adaptation for developing countries by 2030 would be in the range of $140-300 billion per year by 2030, according to the report. But it would be on the higher side of this estimated range, hovering around $300 billion per year.  By 2050, it would spike to $280-500 billion per year.

However, the promised support to developing countries from developed and high-income countries is hardly coming by.

The UNEP’s latest estimate has showed that “climate finance flowing to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation planning and implementation reached $79.6 billion in 2019.”

The fund flow was not that adequate in 2020 as well. “In the absence of a significant increase of around $20 billion (26 per cent) in 2020, the $100 billion mobilisation goal for 2020 will not have been met,” the report said.

“Overall, estimated adaptation costs in developing countries are 5-10 times greater than current public adaptation finance flows and the gap is widening,” the UNEP said.

In comparison to the finance gap indicated in an earlier report in 2020, the latest report said the gap was widening as costs of adaptation had increased but without matching fund flow.

The UNEP studied the nationally determined contributions and National Adaptation Plans of countries. Its finding shows that financing needs are increasing in many countries.

This could also be due to inclusion of more sectors under adaptation. “A sectoral analysis of submissions reveals that the four sectors of agriculture, infrastructure, water and disaster risk management make up three-quarters of quantified adaptation finance needs so far,” the report said.

However, there is an increasing trend of countries taking up climate adaptation plans. “Around 79 per cent of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument, such as a plan, strategy, policy or law. This is an increase of seven per cent since 2020,” UNEP said.

The stimulus for fighting the impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and to help fledgling economies recover could have been an opportunity to factor in climate change adaptation.

The global stimulus declared so far is worth $16.7 trillion.

“Fewer than one-third of 66 countries studied had explicitly funded COVID-19 measures to address climate risks as of June 2021. At the same time, the heightened cost of servicing debt, combined with decreased government revenues, may hamper future government spending on adaptation, particularly in developing countries,” the report said.

“As the world looks to step up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions – efforts that are still not anywhere strong enough – it must also dramatically up its game to adapt to climate change,” Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, said.

“Even if we were to turn off the tap on greenhouse gas emissions today, the impacts of climate change would be with us for many decades to come. We need a step change in adaptation ambition for funding and implementation to significantly reduce damages and losses from climate change. And we need it now,” she added.

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