PARIS: Climate change impacts battering vulnerable countries threaten to outstrip efforts to adapt to global warming, the UN warned on Thursday, with a “significant” amount of international funding help recycled from other purposes.
Many emerging economies, which are least to blame for the fossil-fuel gases that stoke global warming, are among the most exposed to climate impacts, such as worsening drought, floods and cyclones. Funding to help them adapt to accelerating impacts and curb emissions is one of the thorniest issues at UN climate negotiations, which begin their latest round in Egypt on Sunday.
Wealthy nations have failed to provide a pledged $100 billion a year to developing nations, reaching just $83 billion in 2020. Only a part of that — $29 billion — was for adaptation.
That leaves a “yawning gap to be filled” said UN Environment Programme chief Inger Andersen, adding that the actual needs were around five to 10 times greater than finance provided in 2020.
While countries have committed to providing new funding for climate-vulnerable nations, richer nations have been accused of relabeling other types of funding, like humanitarian aid, as climate funding.
“Some of that money — and we don’t know how much, but certainly a significant proportion — is not actually adaptation or mitigation, it’s repurposed,” Henry Neufeldt, author of the UNEP report, told a press conference on Thursday.
But as the world warms, climate change impacts increase and so too do the costs of preparing for them.
UNEP revised up its adaptation estimates from a year earlier, saying countries will now need $160 billion to $340 billion annually by 2030 to strengthen their resilience, rising to $315 billion and $565 billion by 2050.
Last week the UN warned the world was nowhere near the Paris Agreement target of capping warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.