Investing in climate adaptation could save trillions of dollars: Global panel

A new report has called on the world leaders to invest in climate change adaptation measures urgently citing various imperatives, including high rate of return on such investments which make countries resilient. The research finds that investing 1.8 trillion dollars globally in five years between 2020 and 2030 could generate 7.1 trillion dollars in net benefits.

The report by the Global Commission on Adaptation called “Adapt Now: A Gobal Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience” cites three important reasons why the world should prepare to adapt to climate change—without adaptation, climate change could depress growth in agricultural yields by 30%, number of people who may lack sufficient water, at least one month per year, will rise from 3.6 billion to more than 5 billion by 2050 and rising seas could force hundreds of millions of people in coastal cities from their homes, with a total cost to coastal urban areas of more than $1 trillion each year by 2050, the report has estimated.

Climate change could also push more than 100 million people within developing countries below the poverty line by 2030.

The report which was simultaneously launched at the COP14 at Greater Noida and Berlin on Tuesday said early warning systems, infrastructure that can withstand rising sea levels and extreme weather, and boosting agriculture to cope with droughts, bolstering scarce water resources and improving mangrove forests that provide key protection to vulnerable shorelines in developing nations will be the most important adaptation strategies.

Efficient water use will be vital to economic growth in the face of climate change, it said adding that the GDPs of India, China and Central Asia would be from 7 to 12% lower, and much of Africa would be about 6% lower by 2050 if water isn’t managed.

“Countries that make water management a top national priority, backed up by major governance changes and investments, are more likely to adapt and prosper; those that do not will experience serious challenges,” the report said.

The Commission has cited Ahmedabad’s heat action strategy as an example of adaptation Germany and India have both responded to devastating heat waves with action plans that focus on protecting their most vulnerable citizens it has said.

“After a 2010 heat wave killed more than 1,300 people, Ahmedabad, India, took quick actions: training health care staff, distributing water, painting roofs with white reflective paint (to reduce the heat in homes by as much as 5°C), and more,” the report said leading to fewer than 20 people died in a similar heat wave in May 2015.

“Climate change doesn’t respect borders: it’s an international problem that can only be solved with co-operation and collaboration, across borders and worldwide. It is becoming increasingly clear that in many parts of the world, our climate has already changed, and we need to adapt with it,” said Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary General of the United Nations and Chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation.

“We have been talking about decarbonizing the word for over quarter of a century. So now the time has come to adapt and protect what we have. Restoring degraded land will help livelihoods and economy. It’s good adaptation and good for mitigation in the long run,” climate economist, Nicholas Stern said during the launch of the report at Greater Noida.



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