Action to protect against climate crisis ‘woefully inadequate’, UN warns | Climate crisis



The world is “woefully” unprepared for the growing effects of the climate crisis, which is already affecting billions of people around the world, a damning United Nations report has warned.

International funding to protect communities from heatwaves, floods and droughts is only 5% to 10% of what is currently needed, and has increased in recent years, just as extreme weather events have caused even more severe damage. It is actually decreasing.

A report by the United Nations Environment Program (Unep) estimates that climate adaptation in poor and vulnerable countries will require between $215 billion and $387 billion annually over the next decade alone. However, funding in 2021 fell by 15% to just $21 billion, the report said.

At the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, rich countries pledged $40 billion by 2025. Delivering the necessary adaptation measures to protect people from climate impacts is a top priority for the Cop28 summit, which begins in the United Arab Emirates on 30 November. Alongside reducing carbon emissions.

According to the report, adaptation is cost-effective; for example, every $1 billion invested in protection against coastal flooding reduces economic damage by $14 billion. Furthermore, the safeguards will limit future compensation paid through a new loss and damage fund that developing countries are seeking to operationalize at Cop28.

Experts said all countries were inadequately prepared for climate impacts, making adaptation a “life-and-death issue”. In the UK, for example, recent adaptation plans have fallen “far short” of ensuring the protection of lives and livelihoods and are currently being challenged in court.

“As a civilization, we are underprepared. We don’t have proper planning or investment, and that leaves us all at risk,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of Unep. “In 2023, climate change is once again devastating and deadly. We have seen the evidence before our eyes and on our TV screens again and again.” floods, heatwaves and wildfires in the United States and Canada, and drought in East Africa.

Andersen said the decline in adaptation funding is deeply worrying, adding: “This has huge implications for people who have to face the full force of climate change impacts without any shields.” he said. Regarding limiting loss and damage, she said: [adaptation], the pain will be even greater. ”

She said the outstanding adaptation scientist was Professor Salemul Huq, who passed away last week, and said the world situation was summed up by his words in June. “We are now in an era of loss and damage from climate change. Every day, every week, every month, every year, it will get worse everywhere. Every country will be hit, and every country will be affected to some degree. are not prepared for.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Lives and livelihoods are being lost and destroyed, and vulnerable people are suffering the most. But while needs are growing, action is stagnant. The world must take action to close the adaptation gap and achieve climate justice.

“The fossil fuel barons and their promoters helped create this mess. They must support those who are suffering as a result. [so] I call on the government to tax the fossil fuel industry’s windfall profits,” he said.

Tom Evans of think tank E3G said: For too long, these complex and difficult challenges have been ignored. ”

He added: “But we need to stop this short-termism because climate disasters are happening much faster and more severely than expected. The ability of billions of people to cope with climate change will depend on politics. It depends on leaders taking this challenge more seriously.”

The Unep report concludes that “current climate action is woefully inadequate to meet the temperature and adaptation goals of the Paris Agreement.” The report states that climate change has cost the 55 most vulnerable countries alone more than $500 billion over the past 20 years, adding: “These costs will continue to rise in the tens of years to come, especially in the absence of enforcement.” “It’s going to increase rapidly over the years,” he said. [emissions cuts]”

Necessary protection measures include coastal defenses, where rising sea levels threaten millions of people, and urban flooding prevention from increasingly heavy rains. Andersen said cities will need to adapt more to heat waves and agriculture will need to adapt to more droughts.

She said it was important to increase green areas and recover, with green corridors opening up in Medellin, Colombia, temperatures dropping by 2 degrees and mangroves providing protection from coastal storms. The United Nations aims to reach every person on earth with warnings by 2028, and an early warning system to warn people of extreme weather events was also important.

The report found that more than 80% of countries have at least one national adaptation plan, but Anderson said the key is to mobilize investment to fund these plans. He said that. The report said reforms to the World Bank and other international financial institutions to increase climate change financing are important, as is increased spending by governments and businesses.

The report also said the cost of loss and damage is likely to increase significantly, meaning innovative sources of financing will need to be explored, such as air and shipping taxes and debt relief. “It’s very controversial in some areas, but the reality is that costs are going up and up, so we need to look at every opportunity,” Andersen said.

The burning of fossil fuels is a major cause of the climate emergency. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently imposed a $25 billion annual global windfall tax on soaring oil and gas profits paid by the richest oil nations, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Norway. I asked. “[They] I can easily afford it,” he said. “The failure to pass on some of these profits to the world’s poorest countries is one of the great scandals of our time.”

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