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Developing countries may need $300 billion annually by 2030 for adapting to face climate change


GLASGOW: At a time when affluent nations have not even delivered on their promised $100 billion per year of climate finance, a report of UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on Thursday called for ramping up financial support and said the annual costs of adaptation may actually be three times more (higher end of $140-300 billion) by 2030 and five times more (higher end of $280-500 billion) by 2050 for developing countries to adapt themselves to face the challenges of climate change.
In contrast, climate finance flowing to developing countries for mitigation, adaptation planning and implementation reached merely $79.6 billion in 2019. So, overall estimated adaptation costs in developing countries would be “five to ten times” higher than the current public adaptation finance flows.
“While strong mitigation is the best way to lower impacts and long-term costs, raising ambition in adaptation, in particular for financing and implementation, is critical to keep existing gaps from widening,” said the Adaptation Gap Report 2021 of the UNEP, released here at 26th session of the UN climate conference (COP26).
In addition, the report finds that the opportunity to use the fiscal recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize green economic growth that also helps nations adapt to climate impacts such as droughts, storms and wildfire is largely being missed.
“As the world looks to step up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions – efforts that are still not anywhere strong enough – it must also dramatically up its game to adapt to climate change,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP.
She said, “Even if we were to turn off the tap on greenhouse gas emissions today, the impacts of climate change would be with us for many decades to come. We need a step change in adaptation ambition for funding and implementation to significantly reduce damages and losses from climate change. And we need it now.”
Earlier, the UNEP’s ‘Emission Gap Report 2021’, released in October, had flagged that the current promises on mitigation (emission cut) front under the Paris Agreement point to global warming of 2.7°C by the end of the century and even if the world limits warming to 1.5°C or 2°C, as outlined in the agreement, many climate risks remain.
In this backdrop, all developing countries including India have strongly been pitching for higher mobilisation of climate finance from the affluent nations who, being historical polluters, had promised to mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020. However, the ‘climate finance delivery’ plan – released days before the beginning of COP26 – has stated that the developed countries could mobilise that much of finance only three years later (by 2023).
Flagging this gap quite strongly by India at COP26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while delivering his speech at leaders’ summit on Tuesday said, “We all know this truth that the promises made till date regarding climate finance have proved to be hollow. While we all are raising our ambitions on climate action, the world’s ambitions on climate finance cannot remain the same as they were at the time of the Paris Agreement.
“Today, when India has resolved to move forward with a new commitment and a new energy, the transfer of climate finance and low-cost climate technologies have become more important. India expects developed countries to provide climate finance of $1 trillion at the earliest.”
Modi also spoke about monitoring the track record of developed countries on delivering climate finance as promised by them way back in 2009. He said, “Today, as it is necessary that we track the progress made in climate mitigation, we should also track climate finance. The proper justice would be that the countries which do not live up to their promises made on climate finance, pressure should be put on them.”

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