Climate Action Critical in Averting “Fire and Floods” Worldwide

With catastrophic weather events increasingly affecting countries around the world, the UN’s deputy secretary-general emphasized the significance of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Speaking at the Dialogue on Accelerating Adaptation Solutions via video message The Deputy Secretary-General observed already visible repercussions with a 1.2-degree rise ahead of COP26, the annual UN climate summit, which will take place in Glasgow in November.

According to her, the world’s countries and peoples – notably those who are most vulnerable and least responsible for the climate crisis – will suffer much more terrible effects. The consequences will be felt throughout economies, communities, and ecosystems, wiping out development gains, intensifying poverty, rising migration, and escalating tensions.

Ms. Mohammed believes that the world may still reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees by taking “bold and decisive steps” toward a net-zero global economy by 2050.

“Acting now is a question of climate justice. And we have the solutions”, she added.

While she stated that a “massively scaled-up investment” in adaptation and resilience is “critical” for those on the front lines of the climate crisis, she equally noted that only 21% of climate funding has been channeled to adaptation initiatives to far.

“Only a fraction of the $70 billion that developing countries need to adapt is being provided,” the deputy UN head said, adding that adaptation costs for developing countries might reach $300 billion per year by 2030. 

There is a clear economic argument for early investments in adaptation and resilience development, in addition to being a humanitarian obligation.

“Lives will be saved, and livelihoods will be protected,” she said, citing the Secretary-request General’s for donors and multilateral development banks to devote half of all public climate money to adaptation and resilience.

Nonetheless, countries in need of assistance continue to encounter significant obstacles in obtaining climate money.

Ms. Mohammad emphasized the importance of simplifying rules and easing access for LDCs, SIDS, and other vulnerable countries, as well as accelerating initiatives like the African Adaptation Acceleration Program, which was developed jointly by the Global Center on Adaptation and the African Development Bank.

She went on to say that the programme has the ability to produce immediate and transformative results that will preserve lives and livelihoods and that it will stimulate climate-resilient activities to address the effects of Covid-19, climate change, and the economy.

With less than 80 days until COP26, the UN deputy secretary-general encouraged delegates to “act boldly now for people and planet before it’s too late”.