UN: Climate change fight may be 3 times pricier than predicted

Global bill for adapting to droughts and floods could hit $500 billion annually in 2050, unless urgent action taken, UN report warns

UN: Climate change fight may be 3 times pricier than predicted

World Bulletin/News Desk

Blunting the impacts of climate change may cost up to three times more than previously thought, even if nations hold temperature rises below “dangerous” levels, a UN report said Friday.

The "Adaptation Gap Report" by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) said the bill for adapting to droughts, floods and typhoons from 2050 could triple a previous estimate of $70-100 billion annually.

“The report provides a powerful reminder that the potential cost of inaction carries a real price tag. Debating the economics of our response to climate change must become more honest,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP.

Action was imperative as costs to protect exposed communities from more erratic weather could spiral, the report said.

Previous estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were an underestimate, while costs could climb to $250-500 billion halfway through the century.

“The extreme costs estimates shall remind us of the true costs of our fossil fuel dependence,” said Martin Kaiser, head of Climate Politics at Greenpeace. “By burning coal, oil and gas, and destroying our forests, we are already causing a massive increase in adaptation costs every year.”

As the UN’s annual round of climate talks in Peru nears the end of its first week, a rift between developed and developing countries has deepened.

In laying the foundations of a global treaty to be signed in Paris next year, richer countries are seen focusing on ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while poorer nations have demanded finance for adaptation, as well as technology transfer.

The Africa Group negotiation bloc on Thursday tabled a proposed text that moved to formalize conversations on adaptation finance. Developed countries including New Zealand, Switzerland and the United States objected to using the group’s text as the basis for negotiations, with the meeting adjourned for a later date.

“It’s a cruel irony that it is the rich countries whose carbon emissions helped create these climate change impacts that don’t want adaption to be a central part of the Paris agreement,” said Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Change Advisor, Mohamed Adow.

Nowhere is the conundrum more vivid than for small island states. Facing rising sea levels, they have pioneered calls for “loss and demage” funding.

“We’re having to adapt now, storms, loss and damage are looming on the horizon if it’s not already started,” Ronald Jumeau, a UN representative and chief spokesman for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) told The Anadolu Agency.

Jumeau said his own country of the Seychelles negotiated a debt swap with the Paris Club of creditors to pay for adaptation efforts.

“We’ve got too much to lose. The fact remains that we remain the only group where members will be physically wiped off the face of the earth," Jumeau added.

Pledges to a fund that prepares developing countries for climate change on Friday grazed the two-week's summit $10 billion target after Norway put up $240 million. Rich nations have committed to providing $100 billion a year beginning in 2020, though details are unclear. It's another area of contention in climate talks as delegates from more than 194 nations vie to strike a global deal.

International financial flows relating to climate action were valued for the first time on Wednesday at between $340 and $650 billion, according to a separate UN report.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Aralık 2014, 13:15

Muhammed Öylek