Policy Analysis

Accelerating Global Action on Climate Adaptation Could Generate USD 7.1 Trillion in Total Net Benefits

December 19, 2019

A new report published by the Global Center on Adaptation urges policy, business and civil society leaders to take more urgent, innovative and scaled-up action on climate change adaptation in order to prevent widespread economic, environmental and human loss. With global climate change mitigation efforts "promising but insufficient," changing conditions in our natural systems are now inevitable, meriting a redoubled effort to invest in adaptation. 

On a positive note, investing in adaptation could lead to high rates of return and bring economic and social benefits. The report considers five critical areas, early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dry land agriculture, mangrove protection and water resources, and finds that investment of USD 1.8 trillion globally from 2020 to 2030 could generate USD 7.1 trillion in total net benefits. 

The imperative for action on climate change adaptation is clear, but the current scale and pace are far behind what’s needed as the risks and impacts of climate change are not incorporated into decision making. On a practical level, revolutions in the way we understand, plan for and finance climate adaption are vital—these revolutions must be applied across the key economic segments of food, natural environment, water, cities, infrastructure and disaster risk management. 

The Global Commission on Adaptation has already started to drive action behind these words, launching its Year of Action on climate adaptation in September which focuses on collaborative efforts under eight action tracks. A report on progress and findings from this initiative will be presented in October 2020 at the Climate Adaptation Summit hosted in the Netherlands.