Sunday 31 October is the start of COP26. World leaders are gathering in Glasgow, Scotland to review progress towards the Paris Agreement and ramp up action on climate change. The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance are here to advocate for increased support for the flood prone communities we work with at the frontlines of the climate crisis.
What’s the problem?
Not all floods are caused by climate change, but the science in the latest IPCC report is quite clear. Climate change means shifting rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, melting glaciers. These are all phenomena that will lead to increasing floods which will become harder to predict and prepare for.
We must limit global warming so we don’t end up with the worst scenarios predicted. This requires serious mitigation efforts. But, we also urgently need investment to deal with the climate change impacts we’re already seeing. People at risk of climate and weather related hazards like floods need resources to adapt to the changing climate. And those who are already experiencing loss and damage need to be compensated.
What is climate change adaptation finance?
In 2009 23 wealthy countries agreed to invest $100bn of climate finance per year to support low income countries to deal with climate change. They agreed that half of this should be spent on climate change adaptation, rather than mitigation.
Climate change adaptation is a term for finding ways of living with, a changed or changing climate. This can include actions and activities like developing effective flood early warning systems, building the capacity of community volunteer groups to prepare for and respond during disasters, or investing in infrastructure (green and/or grey) that can protect communities in the case of future, increasingly severe flooding.
So far the $50bn climate change adaptation finance target has not been met. Our research also shows that the money invested is not targeting the countries where it’s needed the most – the poorest countries and fragile states with high vulnerability to the impact of climate change.
COP26 must deliver for those at the frontlines of a changing climate
A recent report from the ODI showed that of those 23 wealthy countries that pledged to provide climate finance, only 3 have been paying their fair share of the $100bn. We urgently call on those lagging behind to deliver their fair share of investment.
It’s also about time we recognise that the current target is insufficient. According to UNEP the cost of adaptation in ‘developing’ countries alone is $70bn per year. And if we don’t act now the price tag on adaptation is expected to increase to at least $280bn per year in 2050.
At COP26 world leaders must set a new target for climate finance that meets the needs of those at the frontlines of the climate crisis. Climate change adaptation must be prioritised, investment must be targeted at the countries most vulnerable to climate change, and funding must reach local levels where it can have the biggest impact.
The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance at COP26
The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance and our partners are at COP26, both in Glasgow and online, to reiterate these asks, to amplify the voices of flood prone communities we work with who are at risk of irreversible loss and damage from climate change, and to share our evidence. Both of the severity of the crisis and available solutions.