Category: gca

Adaptation to climate change can deliver 7.1 trillion dollars of benefits by 2030, but requires urgent investment today

Adaptation to climate change can deliver 7.1 trillion dollars of benefits by 2030, but requires urgent investment today

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.

Image: Benefits and Costs of Illustrative Investments in Adaptation.

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.


Acclimatise is proud to be a founding member of the Global Center on Adaptation

Download the report here.


Cover photo by UN DRR on Climate Visuals, shared under by CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Latest publication on finance sector contribution to a climate-resilient world now available

Latest publication on finance sector contribution to a climate-resilient world now available

By Caroline Fouvet

How can the finance sector pave the way towards a more resilient world? This is one of the questions raised by the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), launched by the United Nations (UN) in October 2018 to accelerate adaptation action and support in the world. In the run-up to September’s UN Climate Summit in New York City, during which it will present its recommendations, the GCA has organised its work around six action tracks. Each of them have targets aimed to address current adaptation challenges, and include: food security and rural livelihoods, cities, infrastructure, nature-based solutions, empowering locally-led action and finance.

Although the finance sector has heightened its focus on climate risk disclosure and climate change broadly ever since the publication of the Task-force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, few actionable plans have set out the ways in which the financial services industry can contribute to fostering global climate resilience. As part of the GCA’s finance action track, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPFI) has been commissioned to work on a background report focusing on adaption finance, entitled “Driving Finance Today for the Climate Resilient Society of Tomorrow”, which was published last week.

The report, prepared by US firm Climate Finance Advisors and reviewed by an expert group including Acclimatise’s co-founders John Firth and Dr. Richenda Connell, acknowledges that aligning global adaptation needs with the 2015 Paris Agreement’s commitments constitutes “the biggest investment opportunity of this generation”. Reaching such goals, however, entails unlocking the necessary private and public capital both that can support investment in adaptation and resilience. With this objective, the report reviews barriers and opportunities for financing resilience and adaptation by all actors across the financial system, although it predominantly targets financial system constituents, including policymakers and financial actors, while highlighting actions required from each.

The following barriers are found to be in the way of embedding climate risk and resilience into the financial system:

  • Inadequate support for action on adaptation/resilient investment: the report states that on the one hand, there are currently no sufficient incentives for private finance investments in adaptation, while on the other hand, public finance, that can catalyse private investments, has been historically insufficient and needs to be scaled up.
  • Weak policies and conventions in the financial industry: there is currently a gap in enabling adaptation policy and practice in the financial industry. Guidelines surrounding climate risk and resilience in the financial sector have been weakly established and have achieved limited adoption into practice.
  • Market barriers: there is an overall market perception that investments in resilience address public problems, such as water management or coastal flooding, and as a result lack profitability.
  • Nascent application of climate risk management practices: although there is a growing general awareness of climate risks from corporates and financing institutions, there is still a need to actually integrate physical climate change into operational risk management practices. This is currently hampered by a lack of access tobetter decision-relevant tools from an early stage on.
  • Low capacity in policy and finance for climate risk management: both financial system governance bodies and financial actors have a low capacity to understand climate risks at a level that enables financial decision-making.

As a result of its analysis, the GCA report sets out six recommendations targeting financial system governance bodies and financial actors to overcome the aforementioned barriers and facilitate and accelerate financing for adaptation and resilience:

  • Accelerate and promote climate-relevant financial policies;
  • Develop, adopt, and employ climate risk management practices;
  • Develop and adopt adaptation metrics and standards;
  • Build capacity among all financial actors;
  • Highlight and promote investment opportunities; and
  • Use public institutions to accelerate adaptation investment.

The authors conclude that policymakers and financial institutions need to address the resilience issue hand-in-hand. They also state that behind climate risks also lie opportunities for the financial sector. Last but not least, the finance sector needs to go beyond disclosures, as the ultimate objective of such process is to undertake effective risk management.


Cover photo by Verne Ho on Unsplash.
Global Center on Adaptation begins a new chapter

Global Center on Adaptation begins a new chapter

As of today, the Global Center on Excellence in Climate Adaptation will be known as the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA). With the new name and new look also comes an announcement that the Center will be co-hosting a Global Commission on Adaptation together with World Resources Institute. The Commission will be overseen by the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva. It will be formally launched in The Hague on 16 October.

According to Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen, who announced the formation of the Commission in Rotterdam, it will elevate the political visibility of adaptation and will focus on solutions, catalyzing a global adaptation movement and accelerating action.

The new Chief Executive Officer of the GCA, Patrick Verkooijen, explained that in this new chapter, the Center will work on supporting recommendations made by the Commission while also pursuing practical and actionable steps that can help address policies, investments, financing, and governance needed for increased global adaptation action. Essentially, the GCA will act as a solutions broker between governments, the private sector, civil society, intergovernmental bodies, and knowledge institutions to enable adaptation action.

Secretary-General Ban, who will serve as Chairman of the Board of the Global Center, said that “the role of Global Center on Adaptation will be significant because we need all societies to learn from one another.” He noted that “under the exemplary and bold leadership of Patrick Verkooijen, the Global Center will help accelerate adaptation transformation at scale and at speed.”

The Global Center initially will work to address five challenges slowing down the implementation of scaled up, effective adaptation action. These challenges focus on:

  1. Scaling up ecosystem-based adaptation – Ecosystem-based adaptation delivers greater climate resilience and additional benefits like biodiversity conservation and the creation of greener, more livable cities. However, to date, most EbA interventions have been scattered and small-scale. The Global Center is identifying barriers to scaling up EbA and working on solutions to help overcome them.
  2. Integrating climate adaptation into financial decision-making – Many businesses do not factor potential risks of climate change into their investment decisions. The Global Center is collaborating with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and building on the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to identify how to focus greater attention on climate risks in private sector investment decisions.
  3. Measuring effective adaptation – Making decisions about which adaptation options to pursue, whether at a local, national or global level, requires proper assessment of which options most effectively build resilience. The Global Center is bringing together world-class experts to build on the growing work in this area and determine the best way of making those assessments.
  4. Creating climate resilient cities – More than half of the world’s population lives in cities. This will rise to more than two-thirds by 2050. To successfully adapt to the growing impacts of climate change, cities will need to become climate resilient. Many cities are already active, and some are taking the lead when their own national governments falter. But most people living in cities around the world are still vulnerable to climate change. The Global Center is working with leading networks of cities to catalyze scaled-up action.
  5. Leveraging deltas to address climate change – Deltas are areas where the impacts of climate change can exacerbate existing pressures from urbanization and pollution. But they are also places of opportunity that are often rich in social, economic and natural capital. The Global Center is working with a global network with common interests in deltas to use these opportunities to address climate change challenges.

As a founding partner of the former Global Center on Excellence in Climate Adaptation, Acclimatise is excited to continue to support the GCA in this new chapter.

Visit the new GCA website by clicking here.


Cover photo from Pixabay (public domain).