Boat residents inspect flood waters from the Tittabawassee River into the lower part of downtown on May 20, 2020 in Midland, Michigan.

Gregory Shamus | Getty Images

According to the fifth edition of the Adaptation Gap Report of the United Nations Environment Program, governments around the world need to significantly step up climate adaptation policies to avoid significant economic damage from global warming.

In order to avoid the worst effects of climate change, nations must spend half of all global climate finance on adaptation over the next year, according to the report released Thursday. In 2020, the hottest year on record, the world saw record-breaking hurricanes and forest fires that worsen as temperatures rise.

Such engagement would include investing in nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change, e.g. B. Practices such as replanting trees on degraded land, sequestering more carbon in the soil through agricultural practices, and protecting forests through modified deforestation practices.

Almost 75% of nations have adopted some form of climate adaptation. However, according to the report, major funding gaps remain for developing countries, which are most vulnerable to rising temperatures, as well as for projects that have significantly reduced climate risk.

The United Nations estimated that the annual cost of climate adaptation could be anywhere from $ 140 billion to $ 300 billion by the end of the decade and between $ 280 billion and $ 500 billion by 2050, and concluded that global action would go far lag behind.

And while adaptation projects are on the rise, the continued rise in global carbon emissions is putting these projects at risk.

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As part of the Paris Climate Agreement, the global pact concluded five years ago among almost 200 nations, governments are trying to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit compared to pre-industrial levels.

The world is still on the way for temperatures to rise above 3 degrees Celsius or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit this century.

The report said that meeting the 2-degree Celsius target could limit economic loss to annual growth of up to 1.6%, compared to 2.2% with 3-degree warming, and the nations urged to update their Paris Agreement targets to include new net zero carbon targets.

“The hard truth is that climate change is ahead of us,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, in a statement. “Their impact will be the most amplified and vulnerable countries and communities will be hit hardest – even if we achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

The report also called for governments to prioritize climate change in their recovery plans for Covid-19, including moving away from fossil fuels to investing in green technologies and restoring ecosystems.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the world’s largest economies have allocated more than $ 12 trillion for economies to recover.