A new report from The Global Commission on Adaptation, finds that investing in climate change adaptation is far more cost effective than responding to its impacts. The report identifies $1.8 trillion dollars of investments in five different sectors, which could yield $7.1 trillion in net benefits between 2020 and 2030: a return on investment of nearly 400 %.
The report calls climate change adaptation a “human, environmental, and economic imperative”, and provides specific insights and recommendations in key sectors. The five areas considered for this estimate include early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture crop production, global mangrove protection, and investments in making water resources more resilient. These areas represent only a portion of the total investments needed and total benefits available.
The report also identifies revolutions in understanding, planning and finance, all of which are required for achieving the change needed. Additionally, the report highlights the triple dividend, a trio of benefits that adaptation actions can bring about. The first dividend is avoided losses, that is, the ability of the investment to reduce future losses. The second is positive economic benefits through reducing risk, increasing productivity, and driving innovation through the need for adaptation; the third is social and environmental benefits.
The Commission calls on the revolutions to be applied to key systems affected by climate change: systems that produce food, protect and manage water and the natural environment, plan and build our cities and infrastructure, protect people from disasters, and provide financing for a more resilient future. Furthermore, the report calls for adaptation that addresses underlying inequalities in sociality and brings more people, especially people most vulnerable to climate impacts, into decision making. The Commission is devoting the coming 15 months to driving a set of Action Tracks that are essential to jump-start the needed transitions.
The Commission, co-managed by World Resources Institute and the Global Center on Adaptation, will make several announcements and unveil additional actions at the UN Climate Summit in September 2019.
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Download the report here.