UN: Poor Countries Will Need $130B A Year to Adapt to Climate Change

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Delegates from 190 countries have gathered in Poznan, Poland, this week as part of negotiations for a climate change treaty expected to be finalized in Copenhagen next year. According Yvo de Boer, the top climate change official at the UN, delegates today focused largely on adaptation, or helping developing countries take steps to withstand severe drought, extreme storms, and other events expected to become more frequent as a result of of climate change. (You can watch a video of his press briefing here.)

Officials said this morning that wealthy nations will have to step up funding for that effort. By 2030, the AP reports, poor countries will need $130 billion each year for adaptation and emissions-reduction projects, about six times the amount now available. Boer described the Developed Countries Fund — and strategies for streamlining it and feeding it into sustainable development — a “hot topic” at this week’s talks.

In an interview with the Science and Development Network earlier this week, de Boer emphasized another fund. He said he hoped the Poznan talks, which continue next week, would “mark the launch of the Adaptation Fund, which is important to developing countries and will provide real money for them to adapt to the inevitable impact of climate change.”

Today Boer noted an “emerging convergence” among delegates that a global response to climate change should have four building blocks: mitigation, finance, technology and adaptation. The importance of this newfound common ground, he noted, is not to be overlooked. “Many have pointed to the fact that this shared vision is an opportunity to channel society in a low-carbon direction.” And while delegates in Poznan have called for speeding implementation of known adaptation strategies, it could also be an opportunity (as a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation report found this summer) to channel innovation into technologies that can help accelerate that move.

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