Triple benefits of climate adaptation
"Delay and pay, or plan and prosper", said former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a press conference for the release of a report on adapting to climate change in Beijing. Ban Ki-moon chairs the Global Commission on Adaptation that released the report ‘Adapt now’ on 10 September.
The report finds that investing 1.8 trillion dollar globally in climate adaptation could yield 7.1 trillion in net benefits.
Prevention of damages through climate adaptation can deliver a ‘triple dividend’, states the report as adaptation avoids future losses, generates positive economic gains through innovation, and delivers additional social and environmental benefits.
Simple actions for now
In the foreword of the report the commission illustrates that climate adaptation is not only a global issue of moral responsibility and economic imperative. It also affects people’s daily lives.
The first lines of the foreword mentions a young woman in Bangladesh that hears a siren of an incoming typhoon and moves her family to safety. A farmer in Zimbabwe using a new variety of maize that is more resistant to drought. In Denmark, engineers redesign city streets to make them less prone to flooding. A business executive in Indonesia uses data and maps on water risks to inform his investments. An urban planner in Colombia paints roofs white to deflect dangerous heat. This is what climate adaptation looks like, the commission points out.
Seven interlocking systems
The report explores how these major changes can be applied across seven interlocking systems: food, natural environment, water, cities, infrastructures, disaster risk management, and finance.
It calls for revolutions in three areas—understanding, planning and finance—in order to ensure that climate impacts, risks and solutions are factoring into decision making at all levels.
Action track: nature based solutions
In the report the Commission calls for climate risks to be reduced for hundreds of millions of people through nature-based solutions and increased ecological resilience by 2030. In partnership with Canada and city networks, the commission will mobilize political and private sector leadership to implement large-scale, coordinated approaches to nature-based solutions to minimize extreme heat, urban flooding, sea-level rise, water shortages, and to maximize economic, social, and environmental benefits.
Action track: water
The commission urges 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.
The global Resilient Basins Initiative will be launched to support planning and financing of climate adaptation and resilience measures in river and groundwater basins. Priority for the initiative will be the strengthening of natural defenses and ecological resilience, investing in green and gray infrastructure to mitigate floods, regulate water flows and increase storage capacity, resolve trade-offs among sectors, and improve water use efficiency, particularly in agriculture.
Another initiative is to incentive leading cities to advance integrated urban water resilience planning and investment to address critical vulnerabilities in infrastructure and management, building water security for growing urban populations and increasingly water stressed cities.
Global #AdaptOurWorld campaign
The Commission will announce the start of the Year of Action, at an event hosted by the Dutch Government, at the UN Headquarters, on September 24, 2019.
The Year of Action will build on the report’s recommendations to mobilize action on climate change to be featured at the Climate Adaptation Summit in October 2020 in The Netherlands.