Catastrophic global weather events, from deadly floods in Nigeria to the worst droughts in four decades in the Horn of Africa and hurricanes in the US, have brought climate change into sharp focus.
These natural disasters have damaged public health, forced millions to flee their homes and caused economic damage amounting to more than $650 billion globally over the last three years, or 0.28% of global GDP, according to Morgan Stanley.
In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a universal call to action to end poverty and protect the planet – led to a renewed commitment to address global social, economic and environmental challenges and the Paris Climate Agreement gave the world a target to keep rises in global temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
But almost a decade later, the global outlook has dramatically deteriorated. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report issued a stark ‘final warning’ on the climate crisis: act now or it’s too late.
Despite the current global economic turmoil, there is enough money to tackle this problem. Of $379 trillion of global financial assets under management, just 1% would be needed to achieve all of the SDGs and just 0.25% is needed to cover the climate adaptation gap, according to the OECD.
But, as “Africa’s COP” in Sharm El Sheikh revealed, Global North nations have yet to stump up hundreds of billions of dollars in annual climate aid.
While mitigation and adaptation are both vital parts of climate action, the smart money is on adaptation where investments benefit our health, the planet and the economy. For every $1 invested in climate adaptation, investors could reap between $2-$10 of net economic benefit, according to the Global Commission on Adaptation.