Climate change adaptation will cost up to three times as much as previous estimates, according to the Adaptation Gap Report released in Lima this week by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
“Without further action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the report warns, the cost of adaptation will soar even further, as wider and more expensive action is needed to protect communities from the extreme weather brought about by climate change,” The Guardian reports.
“Debating the economics of our response to climate change must become more honest,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “We owe it to ourselves but also to the next generation, as it is they who will have to foot the bill.”
UNEP says adaptation costs could reach $150 billion per year by 2025 or 2030 and $250 to $500 billion per year by 2050, even if global greenhouse gas reduction targets are met. This week in Lima, developed countries’ contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund inched past the $10 billion mark. By comparison, the world’s governments still spend $775 billion per year to subsidize fossil fuel exploration, production, and consumption, according to the Overseas Development Institute.