A recent report by the Global Commission on Adaptation calling for urgent action on adapting to climate change suggests USD7.1 trillion in benefits could be generated for people and the environment.

The Global Commission on Adaptation, led by a group of 43 leaders in science, politics, and business, released a report last week stating the need to spend USD 1.8 trillion on key adaptation measures to reduce costs and losses associated with climate change.

The Commission, headed by Ban Ki-moon, former UN-Secretary General, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Georgevia, CEO of the World Bank, calls for greater global action and leadership on climate resilience.

Published on 10 September 2019, the Commission’s report asserts the case for climate adaptation, presenting scientific insights, and providing recommendations for heads of states, governments, businesses, and other key actors.

The five adaptation measures outlined, include:

  1. Developing and improving early warning systems for threatening storms and heatwaves,
  2. Building climate resilient infrastructure and climate-proofing existing infrastructure such as: ports, roads, power, sewers, etc.,
  3. Improving dryland agriculture such as switching to climate resilient crops,
  4. Increasing mangrove protection to prevent coastline flooding,
  5. Making water resources management more resilient by increasing water infrastructure, improving efficiency in water use, etc.

Each of the climate adaptation measures provides multiple benefits, referred to in the report as a “triple dividend”, whereby economic losses are avoided, and additional social and environmental benefits are created.

If no global climate adaptation measures are implemented, the Commission suggests that by 2050 global agricultural yields could decrease by up to 30% and 100 million people in developing countries could be pushed below the poverty.

Obtaining the necessary investment to implement the measures described in the report remains the biggest challenge.

Stronger collaboration between governments, corporations, business associations, and international organizations is urgently required to share the costs of investing in these measures.

The report stresses the need for greater public and private investment in technological innovation to find adaptation solutions. As well as the need to improve how global environmental and infrastructure policy and investment decisions are made.

Progress is already being made towards limiting the impact of climate change.

The UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment has partnered with over 2000 institutions working across sectors and industries to promote action and develop solutions on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

For example, IBM, a Governing Consortium member of the Forum, has developed a cloud-hosted water management platform to improve water security in the semi-arid region of northern Kenya by reducing losses through leaks, theft or metering inaccuracies.

Relevant links

Global Commission on Adaptation press release and full report

IBM makes innovative splash in Kenya

Picture: Paul Griffin

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