UK commits £290m for climate adaptation as nations seek clarity on funding timeframes

The UK Government looks set to commit £290m in new funding towards climate adaptation across the globe, with other multi-million pound commitments set to be delivered by nations as week two of COP26 gets underway.

UK commits £290m for climate adaptation as nations seek clarity on funding timeframes

The costs of adaptation look set to reach the higher end of $140-$300bn each year by 2030

To mark Adaptation, Loss and Damage Day at the COP26, the UK Government was expected to allocate almost £300m in climate funding, with other countries mobilising more than £500m on initiatives and programmes all aimed at supporting developing countries in improving adaptation and resiliency in the face of the climate crisis.

The majority of the UK’s new funding will be spent in the Asia and Pacific regions, although this is awaiting official confirmation. The UK has confirmed that £274m will be sent to help these areas plan, invest and improve resiliency through nature conservation and low-carbon innovation. Additionally, £15m will be issued through a £15m adaptation fund for developing countries and £1m to support humanitarian issues across the globe, notably those in response to climate-induced disasters.

In related news, nations have also backed new local-based adaptation measures by supporting the Principles for Locally Led Adaptation. The Principles have been supported by more than 70 governments and bodies, with more than $450m mobilised for local-based adaptation, including a dedicated taskforce aimed at improving access to climate-related finance.

More than $232m has also been committed to a global Adaptation Fund, including the £15m from the UK. Nations such as the US, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Italy, Qatar, Spain, Switzerland, the Quebec and Flanders governments have all added to the fund.

Earlier in the day, the UN’s Race to Resiliency programme unveiled a metrics framework that enables businesses, cities and regions to verify the climate resilience impact of their actions.

To mark the launch of the framework, the Race to Resiliency has also confirmed that members to date have helped to increase the climate resilience of more than 2.3 billion people globally. The initiative is targeting four billion by 2030.

The programme has also improved more than 100 natural systems including mangroves, forests and coastal zones.

Gathering storm

It is hoped that increased funding in adaptation and resiliency measures will help steer negotiations during the final week of the climate summit. Developing nations have been vocal in their disappointment at a failure from developed nations to meet the pre-existing annual $100bn climate finance pledges.

Going into COP26, the Presidency unit outlined plans to finally make good on a commitment from developed nations to provide $100bn of climate finance to poorer countries annually, but stated that the full amount will not be delivered this year or next.

According to the new Delivery Plan, the $100m milestone is unlikely to be achieved in 2020 or 2021, nor in 2022. But, in 2023, it should be met, and in the years that follow, exceeded. Some $117bn should be provided in 2025.

Last week, the UN issued its Adaptation Gap Report 2021: The Gathering Storm, which summarises the efforts of nations to date to both allocate finance and introduce policy measures that improve adaptation against the increasing impacts of the climate crisis.

The report warns that efforts to combat the climate crisis through decarbonisation and adapt through planning and spending are “dramatically” below the required levels. With a separate UN report warning that the world is on course for a 2.7C average temperature increase based on national commitments prior to COP26, this report also warns of an ever-growing financial gap on adaptation.

The UN report finds that the costs of adaptation look set to reach the higher end of $140-$300bn each year by 2030, potentially rising to $500bn by 2050. This is for developing countries alone.

In stark contrast, financial flows provided to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation planning sat at $79.6bn in 2019. The UN is warning that estimated adaptation costs in developing countries are “five to 10 times greater” than what is currently being provided through public finance. This gap, according to the UN, will only grow greater without action.

Matt Mace

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