Saturday, June 2, 2012

Developing countries’ climate change adaptation costs may double to $100 billion per year by 2050

Tom Schueneman in the Energy Collective: Global climate is on track for changes including a greater than 2°C rise in average temperature, and that’s going to result in adaptation costs for developing countries well above the World Bank’s 2°C estimate of $70 billion by 2020 and as much as $100 billion per year by 2050, according to a report produced by ActionAid, Care, GermanWatch and WWF.

Recent estimates show that global average temperature is likely to increase between 4-6°C, which essentially means that humanity, along with all other forms of life, are committed to “permanent and irreversible loss and damage,” the NGOs assert.

“These figures do not cover the costs of hard-to-measure issues such as ecosystem degradation, misery, loss of life or capacity building, and the actual costs could easily double.” Recent studies of potential damage to ocean ecosystems alone given a 4°C rise in average global temperature would come with an economic cost of $2 trillion per year by the end of the 21st century, they note.

Nonetheless, the authors of Into Unknown Territory: The Limits to Adaptation and the Reality of Loss, state that “while globally we are now committed to permanent and irreversible loss and damage, we can still drastically reduce the extent of climate impacts. Bigger and faster cuts to greenhouse gas emissions can reduce the amount of damage and resources needed for climate adaptation.” The group of NGOs presented the report at the Bonn Climate Change Conference last week.

Stepping up worldwide climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts has become an urgent necessity in order to address the losses and damages likely to be caused given the current course of climate change, the NGOs conclude....

There is no water, and the earth is so dry that deep cracks open in the ground under one’s feet. Pastoral communities, which are traditionally nomadic, have nowhere to go to find grazing land, and their only option is to wait for the arrival of rain. This will not occur for several months, and in the meantime the few animals that survive will be so weak that they will no longer serve as objects of barter. Photo: Irina Fuhrmann/Oxfam,  Oxfam East Africa, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license