Global leaders call for urgent action on climate adaptation; commission finds adaptation can deliver $7.1 trillion in benefits

Climate Action

10 Sep 2019 Press release
Global leaders call for urgent action on climate adaptation; commission finds adaptation can deliver $7.1 trillion in benefits
Global Commission on Adaptation report finds that investing $1.8 trillion globally from 2020 to 2030 in five areas of climate adaptation could yield $7.1 trillion in net benefits.

The Commission’s report highlights many economic, social and environmental benefits of adaptation

Climate impacts – such as super-charged hurricanes, floods, and wildfires – are becoming an increasingly urgent reality

Washington/Rotterdam, 10 September 2019 – At a time when the impacts of the climate crisis – such as super-charged hurricanes, floods, and wildfires – are becoming increasingly clear, leaders from the Global Commission on Adaptation are calling on governments and businesses to take urgent action to innovate and advance climate adaptation solutions in light of new research findings.

The report, Adapt Now: A Gobal Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience, puts forward a bold vision for how to transform key economics systems, making them more resilient and productive. The Commission finds that climate adaptation can produce significant economic returns: the overall rate of return on investments in improved resilience is high, with benefit-cost ratios ranging from 2:1 to 10:1, and in some cases even higher.

The analysis specifically finds that investing $1.8 trillion globally in five areas from 2020 to 2030 could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits. The five areas of climate adaptation the report considers are: early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection, and investments in making water resources more resilient. These represent just a portion of the total investments needed and total benefits available.

…Launched with events in over 10 capitals and cities around the world, including Majuro, Beijing, New Delhi, Geneva, Mexico City, Ottawa, Wainibuka, Washington D.C., among others, the Commission’s report highlights the many economic, social and environmental benefits of climate adaptation. For example:
:: Restoring mangrove forests in places like Thailand, India and the Philippines protects coastal communities from deadly storm surges while providing critical habitats to local fisheries and boosting prosperity.
:: The Netherlands “Room for the River” strategy moved dikes inland, widened rivers and created water-absorbing plazas. These projects manage and slow floodwaters, while providing innovative public use spaces and revitalizing neighbourhoods.
:: Zimbabwe, farmers using drought-tolerant maize were able to harvest up to 600 kilograms more maize per hectare than with conventional maize. The additional harvest was enough to feed a family of six for nine months and provided US $240 in extra income, helping them send their children to school and meet other household needs.
:: Reducing flood risks in urban areas lowers financial costs, increases security, and makes investments more viable that would otherwise be too vulnerable to climate risks. London’s Canary Wharf and other developments in East London would have been impossible without flood protection from the Thames Barrier.

In order to ensure that climate impacts, risks and solutions are factoring into decision making at all levels, the report calls for revolutions in three areas: understanding, planning and finance. It also explores how these major system changes can be applied across seven interlocking systems: food, the natural environment, water, cities, infrastructure, disaster risk management, and finance…