UNEP: “346 billion euros are needed annually to finance the damage caused by climate change”

There are just weeks until the lights and stenographers start working in Dubai, the climate capital from November 30 to December 12, at COP28. A new meeting where the political representatives of the countries will debate how to stop climate change and, above all, they will discuss the amount of money that must be invested to stop the damage caused by it. It is a must on the to-do list that left Egypt almost a year ago. A pending issue for more than a decade and an amount that does not stop growing. “The adaptation deficit is greater than previously thought,” the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has just warned.

This is the alert that the United Nations agency launched this Tuesday in its Adaptation Gap Report 2023. «In 2023, climate change was once again more disturbing and deadly: temperature records were broken, while storms, floods, “heat waves and forest fires caused devastation,” says Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP. Before discussions begin at the Dubai climate summit, the United Nations has already set the amount necessary to finance adaptation to climate change: “Between 203,377 and 366,078 million euros annually.”

In just one year, the amount of money needed for climate adaptation in developing countries has increased by nearly 50 billion. Last year, UNEP, also around this time, warned that these states needed between 151,000 and 321,000 million euros per year, between now and 2030. “This is expected to increase significantly by 2050,” warns the organization dependent on the United Nations.

In 2009, developed countries pledged that by 2020 they would transfer $100 billion a year to vulnerable states affected by increasingly severe climate-related shocks and disasters. A figure that was never met, according to the OECD. Last year, the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt) served to begin work on a historic demand of developing countries: the creation of a loss and damage fund. “There will be a new meeting this week, but the positions are still far away,” a source present in the latest negotiations on the architecture of this mechanism assures this newspaper.

This latest update from UNEP raises the adaptation financing gap “and it is likely that adaptation financing needs in developing countries are between 10 and 18 times greater than financing flows, which is the same as 50% more than the previous range,” highlights the text. “The new financial gap is due to growing needs, coupled with declining financial flows for adaptation,” says Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

The report points out that only the 55 most climate-vulnerable economies have experienced losses and damages of more than 500 billion euros in the last two decades. UNEP identifies seven ways to increase financing, including through domestic spending and international and private sector financing.

Despite this, “neither the target of doubling 2019 international financial flows to developing countries by 2025 nor a possible New Collective Quantified Target for 2030 will alone significantly close the financing gap for adaptation and generate such benefits,” Andersen warns.

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