Rich countries cut aid to climate shocks, even as risks increase

Wealthy countries have cut the amount of money they spend helping developing countries deal with the effects of climate change, even as demand for that spending has increased, the United Nations said. A statement issued on Thursday.

Aid for climate adaptation fell to $21 billion in 2021, the latest year for which detailed data is available, a 15 percent drop from 2020, likely the result of increased financial pressure on rich countries as a result of Covid-19 and other challenges. To teachers.

The United States posted one of the largest reductions in climate adaptation aid of any country between 2020 and 2021, the authors found. In 2021, the United States provided $129 million in aid for climate adaptation, compared to $245 million in 2020, a 47 percent decrease.

White House spokesman Angelo Fernandez Hernandez said the report “does not reflect the full picture of what the United States is doing on climate adaptation.” He said the Biden administration has secured about $2 billion in climate adaptation funding for fiscal year 2022.

The report found that developing countries will need between $215 billion and $387 billion annually this decade to protect against climate shocks, worst storms, crop failures and loss of water access. This is 18 times more than the total amount committed by rich countries to climate change in 2021.

The new data comes just weeks before the start of a major United Nations climate summit in Dubai, where aid to developing countries will be high on the agenda. At a similar summit in Glasgow two years ago, countries agreed to double their climate adaptation funding by 2025 compared to 2019 levels. Even if countries meet that pledge, the report said, it would provide only a small share of the additional money needed.

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Georgia Savvido, research associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute and one of the authors of the report, said, “Ambition really needs to be increased.

Demand for adaptation assistance has increased. The report notes that under current climate policies around the world, global average temperatures will rise by at least 2.4 degrees Celsius, or 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit, by the end of this century. This is much higher than the 1.5°C target set by scientists, beyond which the effects of warming would be catastrophic.

“Current climate action is very bad,” the report said.

Paul Watkiss, another author of the report, says the amount of money developing countries need to adapt to climate change has increased by more than 25 percent since 2016, when the United Nations prepared a comprehensive analysis. That growing cost reflects increased global warming and requires a better understanding of both the consequences of that warming and the actions countries must take to address those consequences.

The report says the case for climate adaptation assistance is based on a number of fundamental principles. First, developing countries are responsible for a small share of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause sea level rise, worst storms, droughts and other climate shocks. Wealthy countries such as the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom have contributed disproportionately to those emissions, which many argue creates an obligation to help deal with their effects.

Second, poor countries are more likely to experience those shocks than rich countries. Their infrastructure is often less modern or well-maintained, and they have less access to early warning systems to prepare for disasters or insurance to rebuild afterward.

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Finally, money spent on climate adaptation will greatly reduce the cost of future damages, an argument used by the Biden administration to justify it. Increased adaptation cost within the United States. The infrastructure bill signed by President Biden in 2021 represents the largest single investment in climate resilience and adaptation in U.S. history.

Those incomes are even higher in developing countries. According to the report, $1 billion spent on coastal flood protection reduces damages by $14 billion. Investing $16 billion in agriculture each year would save about 78 million people from chronic hunger or starvation.

If developing countries are unable to cope with the effects of climate change, the consequences will have enormous consequences for rich countries as well. Climate-related shocks, such as crop failures, hurricanes and other disasters, can drive migration even as the United States and other countries try to prevent it.

In an interview last year, Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said: “You can’t have Fortress America. It won’t work. “

Climate shocks can contribute to instability and conflict. Erin Sikorsky, director of the Center for Climate and Security, a Washington think tank, pointed to nuclear-armed Pakistan, which is still reeling from severe flooding last year. The country has seen worse protests over food and energy prices since those floods, he said.

“Climate-driven instability in countries like Pakistan threatens U.S. security, whether it spirals into conflict that requires the deployment of U.S. troops or gives terrorists a foothold to exploit popular unrest and expand their power,” Ms. Sikorski said.

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The report points to another way in which aid from rich countries is falling: only two-thirds of the $21 billion promised by rich countries in 2021 has actually been delivered.

“Until the funds actually reach the ground we cannot have an impact on the ground,” Ms. Savvidou said.

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