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Climate Change Adaptation: Bridging the Finance Gap

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A recent report issued by the Center for American Progress highlighted a major missing component of the Paris Climate talks in December 2015: Adaptation and resilience finances.

According to the report climate change impacts could threaten human lives by 2030, possibly driving more than 100 million people into extreme poverty.

Funding deficiencies

Estimated funding amounts for some nations to reach adaptation standards for a 2 degrees celsius temperature rise are near $100 billion yearly. Findings show that number could double with a temperature rise to 4 degrees celsius.

Yet current rates for the public funding of adaptation, for the entire globe, equal only about $25 billion annually. These funds do not account for private sector funding streams, which the report indicates are difficult to track due to a lack of data.

Coastal regions at risk

The report further indicated that most funds are directed toward mitigation measures, such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but do little for building community and national resilience. The lesser-developed countries will be most impacted, especially those in the highly vulnerable coastal regions of Southeast Asia.

After the Paris talks, the finance climate has begun to shift, with more than 30 countries pledging a combined total of more than $10 billion to the Green Climate Fund.  The Green Climate Fund was established to advance climate-resilience and low-carbon development, and its aim is to assist nations that are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

The key is in getting the private sector to invest in adaptation and resilience to help nations prepare for climate change impacts. It is a start, but, according to the report, the pendulum needs to shift quickly to assist many of these already impoverished nations.

Total funding pledges and future commitments, both public and private, after the Paris Climate talks include:

  • Least Developed Countries Fund: $248 million
  • Adaptation Fund: $75 million
  • United States grant based funding will double by 2020
  • Climate risk insurance initiatives in the United States: $30 million
  • Deutsche Bank: Set target at $1 billion Euros
  • Barclays has reached old goal of $1 billion pound investment in the green bond market, pledges additional $1 billion pounds
  • Swiss Re, already offered $1.1 billion in insurance coverage to developing countries, sets new target for 2020 of $10 billion in climate risk insurance

Bridging the gap with private funds

Funding from economically viable industrial nations, including the United States, the European Union, and Japan must continue, but finding ways to engage private funds will be the key to bridging the finance gap.

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.