A new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), by heads of state gathered for climate talks in Glasgow, calls for urgent efforts to increase funding and implementation to adapt to the growing impacts of climate change.
The report, titled The Adoption Gap Report 2021: The Gathering Storm, found that while policies and plans for climate change adaptation are progressing, funding and implementation are still lagging behind.
In addition, the report finds that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly misses the opportunity to use fiscal reforms to prioritize green economic growth, which could impact countries with climate impacts such as droughts, hurricanes and wildfires. It also helps to adapt.
UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said “As the world seeks to step up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, these efforts are still not as strong, it must also intensify our efforts to adapt to climate change.” “If we shut down the sources of greenhouse gas emissions today, the effects of climate change will be with us for many decades to come. We need a step-by-step shift in the adoption ambition for funding and the consequences of climate change.” Implementation is needed to significantly reduce the losses and losses and that is what we need right now.”
Adoption funding is weak Current promises under the Paris Agreement point to a global warming of 2.7 °C by the end of the century. Even if the world limits warming to 1.5 °C or 2 °C, as outlined in the agreement, many climate risks remain. While strong mitigation is the best way to reduce its impacts and long-term costs, increasing ambition in adoption, particularly for financing and implementation, is critical to prevent the existing gap from widening.
The report finds that the cost of adoption is likely to star at an estimated USD 140-300 billion per year by 2030 and USD 280-500 billion by 2050 for developing countries only. Climate finance flowing to developing countries for mitigation and adoption planning and implementation reached USD 79.6 billion in 2019. Overall, estimated adoption costs in developing countries are five to ten times higher than current public adoption finance flows, and this gap is widening.
COVID-19, Opportunity Missing Now Of the USD 16.7 trillion in funding worldwide, only a tiny fraction has been given to adoption. Less than a third of the 66 countries studied had explicitly funded COVID-19 measures to address climate risks by June 2021. Especially in developing countries, the increased cost of repayment of debt coupled with low government revenue has created barriers to future government spending on adoption.
Some progress in planning and implementation While preliminary evidence suggests that processes for the development of the National Adoption Plan have been hindered by COVID-19, progress is being made on the agenda for the National Adoption Plan. About 79 percent of countries have adopted at least one national level adoption planning tool (plan, strategy, policy or legislation). This is an increase of seven percent since 2020. Nine percent of countries that do not have such a device are in the process of developing one. At least 65 percent of countries have one or more regional plans, and at least 26 percent have one or more sub-national planning tools.
Meanwhile, the implementation of the adaptation works is gradually progressing. Data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that the top ten donors have funded more than 2,600 projects amounting to US$1 million between 2010 and 2019, with the main focus on adoption.
Need more action Despite this progress, the report finds that further ambition is needed in financing and implementation.
The world needs to increase public adaptation finance through direct investment and by removing barriers to private sector participation. More and more robust implementation of adaptation actions is needed to avoid lag in managing climate risks, especially in developing countries. The world also needs to consider the highest level of climate scenarios by the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The report also found that governments should use fiscal recovery from the pandemic to prioritize interventions that achieve both economic growth and climate change resilience. They should have a vision in Integrated Risk Management and establish a resilient disaster finance framework. Advanced economies should help developing countries create fiscal space for green and resilient COVID-19 recovery efforts through concessional finance and genuine debt relief.