But as of right now, early warning systems are only able to adequately protect one-third of the world’s population.
88% of the estimated costs of adapting to climate change are related to infrastructure.
One in two people is predicted to experience severe water shortages by 2030.
National Adaptation Plans are an essential tool for a government that helps countries figure out how to adapt and plan for the future.
There are national adaptation plans in about 70 nations, but the number is rapidly increasing.
If we want to reach the goal of keeping global temperatures 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, all countries must cut their fossil fuel emissions by a lot and switch to a low-carbon economy.
This is still the UN’s message, but as more and more nations experience extreme weather events that endanger food security and global stability, immediate action is required to assist nations in adjusting to a more hostile environment.
Here are five tried-and-true strategies for increasing a country’s climate change resilience.
Early warning mechanisms
Research shows that if you know about a heatwave or storm 24 hours in advance, it can cut the damage by 30%. Early warning systems that make climate projections are one of the most cost-effective ways to adapt. They return about $9 for every $1 invested.
People can get ready for floods by putting sandbags in front of doors, gathering supplies, or, in the worst cases, leaving their homes if they get warnings in time.
For example, even though climate change is getting worse, the number of people who died in storms in Bangladesh has gone down by a factor of 100 over the past 40 years. This is mostly due to better early warning systems.
But as of right now, early warning systems are only able to adequately protect one-third of the world’s population. Most efforts have been made to stop storms, floods, and droughts. However, as heatwaves and wildfires become more common and dangerous, they must be dealt with better.
The UN Secretary-General gave the World Meteorological Organisation the mandate earlier this year to lead the development of an action plan to ensure that everyone in the world will have access to early warnings within the next five years. The idea will be unveiled at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27) next month.
Restoration of ecosystems
In 2021, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and other organisations launched the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, sparking a global movement to restore the planet’s ecosystems. This worldwide effort to fix things up will improve “ecosystem services.” This will help the Earth take in more carbon and protect it from the worst effects of climate change.
Restoring urban forests in cities cools the air and lessens heat waves. On an average sunny day, a single tree can cool the air as much as two home air conditioners running all day.
By lowering the height and force of the waves, mangrove forests along the coast protect against storm surges. Additionally, maintaining mangroves costs 1,000 times less per kilometre than constructing seawalls.
Regreening mountain slopes at high altitudes protects people from climate-related landslides and avalanches. For example, cutting down trees on Anjouan Island in the Comoros dried out the soil and turned forests into deserts. To prevent erosion and keep water and nutrients in the ground, a project with UNEP funding aims to plant 1.4 million trees over four years.
3 Climate-Resistant Infrastructure
Climate-resilient infrastructure is made up of buildings and systems that can handle shocks from bad weather, like power lines, bridges, and roads. 88% of the estimated costs of adapting to climate change are related to infrastructure.
According to World Bank research, investments in climate-resilient infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries could result in overall benefits of almost $4.2 trillion, or nearly four dollars for every dollar invested. The logic is straightforward. As their useful lives get longer and their services become more reliable, infrastructure assets that are more resilient pay for themselves.
Building rules, spatial planning frameworks like vulnerability maps, and a strong communication push to make sure the private sector knows about climate risks, predictions, and uncertainties are all ways to get people to invest in infrastructure that can handle climate change.
Water resources and safety
When it comes to floods, droughts, increasing sea levels, or even wildfires, the tale of climate change is mostly one about water. One in two people is predicted to experience severe water shortages by 2030.
Since 70% of all freshwater is used for agriculture around the world, it will be important to invest in better irrigation. By 2030, the world could save between 100 and 120 billion cubic metres of water if leaks in cities were fixed. Plans for Integrated Water Resource Management look at the whole water cycle, from where the water comes from to how it is distributed, treated, reused, and then returned to the environment.
Research shows that investments must be kept up if we want to make more rainwater harvesting systems available. For instance, falling rainfall and rising sea levels in Bagamoyo town, Tanzania, were causing wells to dry up and turn salty. Children from the nearby Kingani School were forced to drink salt water due to a lack of alternatives, which resulted in headaches, ulcers, and low attendance.
With help from UNEP, the government started building a system to collect rainwater, including roof gutters and many big water storage tanks. The youngsters returned to school as soon as the diseases started to decline.
Climate change solutions work better when they are built into long-term plans and policies. National Adaptation Plans are an essential tool for a government that helps countries figure out how to adapt and plan for the future.
A key part of these plans is looking at climate scenarios for the next few decades and combining them with sector-specific vulnerability assessments. These can help the government organise and guide its investment decisions, change the regulatory and financial framework, and make the public more aware.
There are national adaptation plans in about 70 nations, but the number is rapidly increasing. UNEP is now helping 20 member states make their plans. These plans can also improve the adaptation parts of Nationally Determined Contributions, which are a vital part of the Paris Agreement.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network