, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned that the cost of adapting to climate change in developing countries could rise to between sh28 and sh50 trillion per year by 2050, a figure that is four to five times greater than previous estimates.
According to a new United Nations Environment report, despite the increase there will be a significant funding gap by 2050 unless new and additional finance for adaptation is made available.
Ibrahim Thiaw, UNEP’s Deputy Executive Director said contributions to these funds are low when compared to the contributions made to funds that mitigate climate change.
“It is vital that governments understand the costs involved in adapting to climate change,” said Thiaw, “This report serves as a powerful reminder that climate change will continue to have serious economic costs. The adaptation finance gap is large, and likely to grow substantially over the coming decades, unless significant progress is made to secure new, additional and innovative financing for adaptation.”
Developing countries have been called upon by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to provide sh10 trillion annually by 2020 to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impact such as drought, rising sea levels and floods.
However, the UNEP report notes: “There is no agreement as to the type of funding that shall be mobilized to meet this goal. This hampers efforts to monitor progress toward meeting the goal.”
The report further highlights the need for the proper measurement, tracking, and reporting system of adaptation investments, to help ensure that finance is used efficiently and targeted where it is most needed.
The report states that, while dedicated climate funds are breaking down the barriers to investing in adaptation projects in developing countries, contributions to these funds are low when compared to the contributions made to funds that mitigate climate change.
Last year Kenya showed its commitment to adapting to climate change by promising to reduce her carbon emissions by an ambitious 30 per cent by 2030 despite contributing to only 0.1pc of total global emissions during the Conference of Parties Meeting (COP21) at Le Bourget in Paris, France, last year.
During the conference, Cabinet Secretary for Environment Judi Wakhungu pointed out that although Kenya’s contribution to global warming was negligible; the government also endorsed strong commitment to adaptation funds.
Closing this gap will be vital if the world is to address future adaptation needs, especially those of developing countries.
The Paris Agreement on climate change, which 195 countries negotiated in December, includes several key provisions designed to advance adaptation. They include
- The adoption of a global goal on adaptation, the commitment to increase developed country funding to developing countries and
- The requirement that all parties draw up and regularly update adaptation plans and strategies i.e. reduce their national carbon output, though by different degrees.
In an unprecedented move, the Paris Agreement also calls for a balance between adaptation and mitigation finance and support in a bid to meet longstanding demand for adaptation finance from developing countries.
Most scientists say failure to agree on strong measures especially on cost of adapting to climate change would doom the world to ever-hotter average temperatures, bringing with them deadlier storms, more frequent droughts and rising sea levels as polar ice caps melt.