The U.N. says countries must adapt faster to climate impacts : NPR

On July 26, Xinjiang was one of several places in China’s Hainan Province where severe flooding occurred this year. A United Nations report says the effects of climate change are deteriorating faster than countries can adapt.

Deck Kong / AP

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Deck Kong / AP

On July 26, Xinjiang was one of several places in China’s Hainan Province where severe flooding occurred this year. A United Nations report says the effects of climate change are deteriorating faster than countries can adapt.

Deck Kong / AP

As world leaders meet in Glasgow to try to stem the planet’s warming emission, an uncomfortable fact points to their efforts: they have gathered on a shrinking island in the rising sea, where Temperatures are hotter than ever and storms are more intense.

“Some of the effects of climate change are already irreversible, and our adaptation efforts are lagging behind,” a new UN report said.

Meanwhile, the gap between the money available and what is needed to protect communities from rising seas, warmer temperatures and worsening storms is widening.

“Even if we turn off the greenhouse gas emissions today, the effects of climate change will be with us for decades to come,” said Inger Anderson, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program.

The new report – aptly titled “The Gathering Storm: Adapting to Climate Change in the Post-Epidemic World” – urges world leaders to make communities more resilient. And it warns that they are missing out.

More than $ 16 trillion has been spent globally to jumpstart economies during the COVID-19 epidemic, but only a small portion of it is aimed at climate adaptation efforts. The epidemic, meanwhile, has shrunk government revenues and disrupted the supply chain, hampering adaptation plans, especially in developing countries.

“There are some striking similarities between climate change and epidemics: Like epidemics, the climate change crisis is a systemic issue that requires a coordinated global, national and local response,” the report said. “Many of the lessons learned from dealing with the epidemic have the potential to serve as an example of improving climate adaptation and financing.”

Developing countries are being hit the hardest.

The countries least responsible for global warming are often the hardest hit, and the United Nations says these climate effects are deteriorating faster than countries can adapt to.

A recent medical journal report The Lancet Found that climate change Impairment of human health In almost every measurable way.

The World Health Organization says that by the end of the decade, climate change will be almost over 250,000 additional deaths each year From malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.

He says developing countries with weak health systems will not be able to cope. But they will not be alone.

Hundreds were killed earlier this year. Heat wave Which cooked northwest of the Pacific Ocean and Canada Thousands more Died in a competition that usually occurs during the heatwave in Western Europe.

Climate-fueled forest fires engulfed Canada and all towns around the Mediterranean. And the floods cost billions of dollars in China, India and Europe.

The United States has experienced 18 climate-related natural disasters this year, costing more than $ 1 billion. Last year it was 22.

The UN report states in its preface that “2021 was the year in which the effects of climate change hit developed and developing countries with a new horror.” “So, even when we’re trying to step up our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – efforts that are still not very strong – we need to dramatically increase our game to adapt.” ۔ ”

There are reasons for optimism.

The UN report says a growing number of countries are developing policies, laws or plans to adapt to the growing global heat. More than three-quarters of the world’s countries have adopted at least one policy to make their communities safer, and more projects are attracting greater investment.

But the world’s richest countries, which account for about 80 percent of global warming emissions, have yet to deliver on their promises to developing countries. 100 billion annually Helping them cope with the effects of climate change. The money was due last year.

Earlier this week, US Meteorological Envoy John Kerry told reporters that the money would be deposited by 2023, but doubts remain and the need may be greater. The United Nations report estimates that the cost of adaptation is likely to be five to ten times higher than current international financial flows.

AR Ciders, a climate adaptation expert at the University of Delaware, says that even in rich countries like the United States, adaptation financing is not close to where it needs to be.

“We are not taking significant action at the national, state or global levels,” she said. “And when we’re dealing with it. [the consequences of climate change]We’re dealing with them a lot in the form of a disaster response, which is, ‘Hey, that’s a disaster. Let’s try to get everyone back to their pre-disaster routine. ”

Even with the increasingly hot climate, she says, “it doesn’t work normally.”

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