Climate Change

Benefits of climate adaptation far outweigh costs

The world can accrue net benefits worth $7.1 trillion by spending $1.8 trillion on climate adaptation, according to latest Global Commission on Adaptation report

 
Last Updated: Thursday 12 September 2019

Benefits of climate change adaptation far outweigh the costs, according to a new report by the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA).

The world can accrue net benefits worth $7.1 trillion by spending $1.8 trillion on climate adaptation, added the report Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience. The GCA is led by former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive of the World Bank.

The report identified five key areas of climate adaptation — early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture and crop production, mangrove protection and investments in making water resources more resilient.  

The benefit-to-cost ratio of these five areas range between 2:1 and more than 10:1. Climate adaptation can also deliver dividends on three fronts or “triple dividends” — avoidance of future losses, generation of positive economic gains through innovation and delivery of additional social and environmental benefits, added the report.

“Mitigation and adaptation go hand in hand as two equally important building blocks of the Paris Agreement. Adaptation is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do to boost economic growth and create a climate-resilient world,” said Ban Ki-Moon.

For example, early warning systems worth $800 million in developing countries can avoid losses of $3-16 billion per year, said the report.

Similarly, mangroves help avoid losses amounting to $80 billion per year from coastal flooding and protect 18 million people.

The report advocates more people, especially from the vulnerable groups, to be part of the decision making process, given the fact that people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change were not responsible for the emissions that led to it. 

However, the report is critical of the fact that not enough money has been made available for climate change adaptation.

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