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Developing Countries Could Face Annual Adaptation Costs of $300 Billion by 2030

Developing Countries Could Face Annual Adaptation Costs of $300 Billion by 2030, Secretary-General Warns in Message to Climate Vulnerable Finance Summit

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the first Climate Vulnerable Finance Summit today:

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to address this critical meeting.

Climate vulnerable countries stand at the front lines of the climate crisis. I am inspired by your leadership on climate action. You do this even as you continue to suffer the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contrast could not be greater between developed countries — where vaccinations are reducing the impact — and developing countries, which face the risk of even greater disruption. That is why I will continue to call for global solidarity in providing access to vaccines and debt relief. I will also continue to call for justice and solidarity in addressing the climate crisis.

All your nations face worsening climate impacts. Science has long warned that we need to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. Beyond that, we risk calamity. You rightly fought to ensure the 1.5-degree goal was reflected in the Paris Agreement.

Your voice will again be needed to ensure we keep it within reach. The climate impacts we are seeing today — at 1.2 degrees of warming — give us a glimpse of what lies ahead: prolonged droughts, extreme and intensified weather events and horrific flooding.

Limiting global temperature rise is a matter of survival for climate vulnerable countries. And we are running out of time. Some major economies have pledged to cut their emissions to net zero by the middle of the century, in line with the 1.5-degree target.

For COP26 in Glasgow to be the turning point we need, we need the same promise from all countries. And we need all countries to present — as soon as possible — the nationally determined contributions that will lay out credible and ambitious pathways to cut global emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.

But I am keenly aware that developing countries need reassurance that their ambition will be met with much-needed — and still lacking — financial and technical support. To rebuild trust, developed countries must clarify now how they will effectively deliver $100 billion in climate finance annually to the developing world, as was promised over a decade ago. Solidarity begins with the $100 billion. We need a clear plan on this goal from now until 2025. I will be emphasizing this to G-20 finance ministers tomorrow.

I would also like to flag the role of development finance institutions, especially multilateral development banks. Their support to developing countries in the short term will either facilitate low-carbon, climate-resilient recovery, or it will entrench them in high-carbon, business-as-usual, fossil fuel-intensive investments, with high stranded asset risks. We cannot let this happen.

I am also calling for a breakthrough on adaptation. Just 21 per cent of climate finance goes towards adaptation and resilience. That is $16.7 billion a year. Yet current adaptation costs for developing countries are $70 billion a year, and this could rise to as much as $300 billion a year by 2030.

We must achieve a balanced allocation for mitigation and adaptation. I am calling for 50 per cent of climate finance globally from developed countries and multilateral development banks to be allocated to adaptation and resilience in developing countries. And we must make access to climate finance easier and faster.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In this make-or-break year, please know that the Climate Vulnerable Forum has the full support of the United Nations system. To get the world back on its feet — to restore cooperation among Governments and recover from the pandemic in an inclusive, low-carbon, climate-resilient manner — we must support developing countries to deliver on their high ambition.

Let us all work together for people and the planet.


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