According to a first-ever Adaption Gap report by the UN Environment Programme, even if greenhouse gas emissions were cut in the most optimistic manner from now on, the costs of adapting to the impacts of climate change would be at least two to three times more than previous estimates of just a few months earlier.
The report says that current projections of an annual requirement of $70 to $100 billion in adaptation costs by 2050 might prove to be a gross underestimate. The amount needed might be at least two to three times that figure. South Asia, one of the most vulnerable regions, alone might require $30 to $40 billion for adaptation every year.
Globally, the money required could be as high as $150 billion per year by 2025 or 2030 and $250 to $500 billion per year by 2050, it said. And these are estimates of best case scenarios when adequate action is taken to rein in greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep the average temperature rise to within 2 degree Celsius as compared to 1850.
“In cases of higher warming pathways, post 2030 cost of adaptation or residual damages are likely to rise very significantly due to higher levels and rate of change and the greater level of anticipatory adaptation,” the report said.
The Adaptation Gap report came at a time when developing countries, including India, were forcefully arguing at Lima for recognition of adaptation measures in the ‘contributions’ that every country has to make towards fighting climate change.