Preparations for the Climate Crisis Will Save Trillions, Commission Finds
Every $1 spent on climate adaptation could see between $2 and $10 of net economic benefit, but current investments are lagging way behind.
Preparing for the impacts of climate change can pay back the initial investment as much as ten times over, saving trillions of dollars by 2030.
That is according to a new report published on Tuesday by the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), led by former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, businessman Bill Gates, and CEO of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva.
The report gives concrete examples of the ways costs and losses associated with climate risks can be avoided.
For instance, a 24-hour warning system for a coming storm or heat wave could reduce ensuing damage by 30%, according to the report. Investing $800 million on warning systems in developing countries could avoid losses of up to $16 billion per year.
Most efforts to tackle climate change have focused on emissions reduction. Christiana Figueres, former head of the UN Climate Change, called the report a “breakthrough”.
Failing to adapt agriculture practices to climate change could cause growth in global agriculture yields to reduce by up to 30% by 2050, affecting small farmers the most and putting increasing pressure on ways to feed the growing global population.
More efficient water allocation is also expected to become vital to economic growth. The economic growth of India, China, and Central Asia could be 7 to 12% lower without such measures, and much of African countries would see their GDP reduce by 6% by 2050.
The report warned that the preparations were “not happening at nearly the pace and scale required”, because climate impacts and risks are not yet adequately factored into decision-making and that those most affected by climate change were not given a voice.
“Much of the adaptation money doesn’t come close to the communities affected and that needs to stand on its head,” said Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute. “We are calling for a radical overhaul of how money is being spent.”
Done right, adaptation will benefit the most vulnerable people the most, he added.
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