By Lise Alves, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Over 75 agents, from government, international development banks, civil society and the private sector have agreed to support initiatives to accelerate climate change adaptation solutions, the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) announced last week during the Climate Summit in New York.
These initiatives may avoid trillions in future losses according to GCA officials, and governments and businesses need to plan more for a warming planet. And while governments may incur significant debts due to climate change, companies that do not adapt may not survive.
“Climate change doesn’t respect borders,” says United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “It’s an international problem that can only be solved with co-operation and collaboration, across borders and worldwide.”
A report on the initiatives, released at the beginning of September by the GCA, calls on governments and businesses to take action to innovate and advance climate adaptation solutions by investing in five main sectors: early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection and resilient water resources.
Failing to tackle the climate emergency head on “we risk climate apartheid”, says Patrick Verkooijen, co-director of the GCA and a contributor to the report.
According to the study, investing, for example, US$800 million on warning systems for approaching storms or heat waves in developing countries could avoid losses of up to US$16 billion per year.
In all, investments of US$1.8 trillion in these five sectors from 2020 to 2030 could avoid as much as US$7.1 trillion in future losses, through economic gains in innovation, and additional social and environmental benefits, says the report.
Within these five sectors, the agents will now seek to meet ambitious targets under eight Action Tracks and create a “comprehensive platform for urgent, bold and equitable adaptation”. These tracks include: Finance and Investment; Food Security and Agriculture; Nature-based Solutions; Water; Cities; Locally-led Action; Infrastructure; and Preventing Disasters.
Among the specific initiatives, the GCA will promote programs to support 300 million small-scale producers so they may adapt their farming systems, livelihoods and landscapes to be more climate resilient by 2030, and another to expand access to climate-informed digital advisory services for at least 100 million small-scale producers by 2030.
Also; expand access for at least 100 million small-scale producers to insurance, markets, finance and productive safety nets; and supporting 150 million urban poor in 140 ‘hotspot’ cities across fifty developing countries to adapt to climate change in informal settlements by 2023.
And according to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, human beings must look to mother nature to help with the adaptation. “We must harness the power of nature to make communities more resilient to climate change.”
“We urgently need to invest in strengthening the resilience of natural freshwater and critical human water systems to reduce risks for billions of people facing high water stress and for those whose lives are impacted by floods and droughts,” said the UN official.
“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,” concludes the UN Secretary.
The Global Commission on Adaptation was launched in October of 2018 encourage the development of measures to manage the effects of climate change through technology, planning and investment. In addition to the UN Secretary General, the group’s co-chairs include Bill Gates, and World Bank CEO, Kristalina Georgieva.