A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows climate adaptation costs for developing countries are likely to be two to three times the current estimates of $70 to $100 billion per year.
The UNEP Adaptation Gap report says this will happen even if global emissions are cut drastically to meet the agreed goal of limiting warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
The African Group of Negotiators (AGN) at the climate talks has acknowledged that the $100 billion to be mobilised by developed countries by year 2020 is a starting point to climate adaptation. Their aim, according to the Chair, Nagmeldin El Hassan, is to see a 1.5oC or 2oC warming limit.
Martin Kaiser, Head of Climate Politics in Greenpeace, said: “If the Paris treaty is to make a difference, countries must agree to phase out fossil-fuel emissions to zero and lead us to a renewable energy future”.
He wants businesses causing the problem to be held accountable and compensate the victims of their dirty actions, a position shared by African civil society.
Christian Aid has also called for negotiators at the ongoing UN climate summit in Lima to heed the warnings.
Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Change Advisor, Mohamed Adow, said: “This UNEP report outlines in stark detail the huge costs of adapting to climate change being faced by poor countries around the world. Already some developing countries are reaching the limit they can bear with their limited resources. The poor and most vulnerable should not be left alone with the option to simply adapt or die.”
He described as “a cruel irony” that the rich countries whose carbon emissions helped create these climate change impacts do not want adaption to be a central part of the Paris agreement.
“It’s important that action on emissions is linked to action to help countries adapt. While emissions cuts remain low it is even more vital that adaption support increases,” said Mohammed.
African civil society, led by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), has stated that any climate change deal that is leading to 3oC of warming should be resisted as it will cause untold problems of hunger, starvation, disasters, conflicts and wars in Africa.
By Kofi Adu Domfeh