Global leaders call for $1.8trn climate adaption investment

10th September 2019

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Rajendra Kumar Appala

Investing $1.8trn (£1.5trn) in climate change adaptation over the next decade could yield $7.1trn in net returns, a new cost-benefit analysis has revealed.

The findings are published in a report today from the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), led by former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

It warns that climate change will push millions of people into further poverty without additional investment, likely leading to increased conflict and instability.

Five areas suggested for adaptation spending are early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection, and water resources resilience.

The report comes as extreme weather patterns become increasingly frequent worldwide, with Hurricane Dorian devastating several Bahamian islands in recent weeks.

GCA chair, Ban Ki-moon, said: “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.

“Adaptation is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do to boost economic growth and create a climate resilient world.“

Climate adaptation can also deliver a “triple dividend“ by avoiding future losses, generating positive economic gains through innovation, and delivering additional social and environmental benefits, according to the report.

Some of these benefits, for example, include protection for coastal communities from storms and habitat for local fisheries by restoring mangrove forests in places like Thailand and India.

The report states that the overall rate of return on investments in improved resilience is significant, with benefit-cost ratios ranging from 2:1 to 10:1, and in some cases even higher.

It calls for “revolutions“ in three areas – understanding, planning and finance – in order to ensure that climate impacts, risks and solutions are factoring into decision making at all levels.

The GCA will announce the start of a 'Year of Action' at UN headquarters on 24 September, which will build on the report's recommendations prior to a Climate Adaptation Summit in October 2020.

GCA co-chair, Gates, said: “With greater support for innovation, we can unlock new opportunities and spur change across the global ecosystem.

“Adaptation is an urgent issue that needs support from governments and businesses to ensure those most at risk have the opportunity to thrive.“

Image credit: ©iStock


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