A report from the Global Commission on Adaptation calls for urgent action to advance climate adaptation solutions and argues that investments of $1.8 trillion globally between 2020 and 2030 could unlock $7.1 trillion in net benefits.
The report, Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience (90 pages, PDF), calls on the political, business, multilateral, and scientific sectors to accelerate adaptation efforts and highlights the human, environmental, and economic imperatives for doing so — including the role played by climate change in existing inequities, conflict, and instability, as well as accelerating environmental degradation, species extinction, and the loss of natural assets needed for adaptation. To mitigate the effects of climate change, the commission, which is led by former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva and is co-managed by the World Resources Institute and the Global Center on Adaptation, urges additional investments in five areas: strengthening early warning systems, making new infrastructure resilient, improving dryland agriculture crop production, protecting mangroves, and boosting resilience in water resources management.
Investing in adaptation and resilience, the report argues, promises benefit-cost ratios ranging from 2:1 to 10:1 and a "triple dividend" of avoided losses, positive economic benefits (through reduced risk, increased productivity, and innovation), and social and environmental benefits. To ensure that climate impacts and risks are factored into decision-making processes at all levels, the commission calls for "revolutions" in the understanding of, planning for, and financing of adaptation, including making climate risk more visible and learning what solutions work; improving assessment, budgeting, permitting, project design, and risk disclosure in the public and private sectors; and increasing financing for infrastructure, contingency finance, and insurance, as well as international funding for adaptation in developing countries. Released ahead of the UN's 2019 Climate Action Summit later this month, the report outlines how these recommendations can be applied to seven key systems affected by climate change: food, natural environment, water, cities, infrastructures, disaster risk management, and finance.
"People everywhere are experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change," said Gates. "Those most impacted are the millions of smallholder farmers and their families in developing countries, who are struggling with poverty and hunger due to low crop yields caused by extreme changes in temperature and rainfall. 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."