Governments across the world must significantly scale up climate adaptation measures to avoid major economic damage from global warming, according to the fifth edition of the UN Environment Programme Adaptation Gap report.
Nations must put half of all global climate financing towards adaptation in the next year in order to avoid the worst impact of climate change, according to the report published on Thursday. In 2020, the hottest year on record, on par with 2016, the world experienced record-breaking hurricanes and wildfires that continue to intensify as temperatures rise.
Such a commitment would include investing in nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change, such as practices like replanting trees on degraded land, sequestering more carbon in soil through agricultural practices and protecting forests through changing logging practices.
Nearly 75% of nations have adopted some form of climate adaption. But major gaps remain in financing for developing countries, which are most vulnerable to rising temperatures, as well as projects that have notably reduced climate risk, the report said.
The UN estimated that yearly climate adaption costs could reach between $140 billion and $300 billion by the end of the decade and between $280 billion and $500 billion by 2050, and concluded that global action is lagging far behind.