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There is insufficient investment in preparing for the impacts of climate change

There is insufficient investment in preparing for the impacts of climate change

Tilly Alcayna

Image Credits: ZFRA

The following is an extract from the report "At What Cost?" written to mark the deadline of $100 bn in annual climate finance to assist low-income countries to address climate change by 2020.

For many people COVID-19 is just one of the many challenges they face. In East Africa for example, people faced a brutal combination of locust swarms, flooding, and COVID-19 in mid 2020. Disasters like floods and droughts do not stop because there is a global pandemic. Climate change remains a major global threat. Considering only floods, which affect more people globally than any other type of natural hazard, the number of people exposed to flood risk is projected to grow to 150 million by 2030 – more than double the number today.

The impacts of these climate challenges are not inevitable. Financing towards climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) can help to manage and reduce the risk of climate-related disasters and enable people to cope with multiple shocks and stresses. Yet, there is insufficient investment in preparing for the impacts of climate change and money is not going to the countries and people that need it most.

To date both climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction have received insufficient financing. Within the $100 bn per year committed
by the international community, a balance was supposed to be reached between funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation. This has not been delivered. Global adaptation financing only reached $30 bn in 2017/2018; much less than the 50 per cent that would represent a balance. Even these figures may be an overestimation.

Furthermore, climate vulnerable countries are not receiving preferential targeting from donors. Only a quarter of bilateral financing and less than half of the major multilateral financing has targeted the most climate vulnerable countries with climate change adaptation funding from 2010–2017. There is no correlation between the amount of money received for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction by people living in extreme poverty and climate-vulnerability of a given country. This means funds are not being targeted according to need.

Finally, the majority of the most climate vulnerable countries received less than $20 per person per year in climate change adaptation financing from 2010–2017. The average equivalent value of DRR financing per capita of the extreme poor (excluding outliers) was 66 cents per year over the period 2010–2018.

By 2030, climate change adaptation costs are expected to range between $140 bn and $300 bn a year, and rise to between $280 bn and $500 bn per year by 2050. For more severe scenarios of global warming these figures are expected to be much greater. The longer adaptation and risk reduction efforts are put off by chronic underfunding in CCA and DRR, the more difficult and expensive it will be to manage adaptation needs and the harder it will be to save lives and mitigate suffering.

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