Adaptation can deliver high rates of return, bringing multiple benefits to people and the economy
To avoid the worst consequences of global warming, report after report has stressed the importance of cutting emissions. But with unusually intense weather events wreaking havoc all over the world — from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas to heat waves in Europe — new findings suggest that the world needs to devote an equally urgent effort to adapt to the changes that are already on the horizon. Read the Grist article here
The 81-page report, released Tuesday by the Global Commission on Adaptation, argues that big investments in adaptation measures will not only avert environmental catastrophe but also reap significant returns: Researchers found an investment of $1.8 trillion from 2020 to 2030 could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits.
The five areas identified as priorities for adaptation are
- early warning systems,
- climate-resilient infrastructure,
- improved dryland agriculture,
- mangrove protection, and
- investments in making water resources more resilient.
This represents only a portion of the total investments needed and total benefits available.
Mangrove protection may come as a surprise as a priority action for adaption to those who which to remove them from our harbours. But mangrove forests prevent more than $80 billion per year in losses from coastal flooding and protect 18 million people. They also contribute just over $40 billion annually to sustain local fisheries. (Incidentally, mangrove forests are also an incredible natural carbon sink.)