Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Bill Gates Co-Launches Group to Jump Start Climate Change Adaptation

Climate
Bill Gates Co-Launches Group to Jump Start Climate Change Adaptation
A screen projects a speech by Bill Gates at the launch of the Global Commission on Adaptation. OLAF KRAAK/AFP / Getty Images

As a summer of wildfires, heat waves and flooding made clear, climate change isn't just something to race to prevent in the future. It's also something that's happening right now.

But key players haven't exactly come to terms with that. In 2015 to 2016, $380 billion dollars were spent reducing carbon dioxide emissions and only $20 billion on increasing protections from extreme weather events, The Guardian reported.


Now, three very influential people are teaming up to change that. Bill Gates, former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva launched the Global Commission on Adaptation Tuesday in an effort to jump start the development and implementation of effective climate adaptations on the global level.

"We are at a moment of high risk and great promise. We need policies to help vulnerable populations adapt and we need to ensure that governments and other stakeholders are supporting innovation and helping deliver those breakthroughs to the people and places that need them most," Gates said in the press release announcing the launch.

However, the existence of the commission doesn't mean its leaders have given up on preventing additional climate change, but rather that they have accepted that it is already occurring on a wide scale.

"If everyone does their part, we can reduce carbon emissions, increase access to affordable energy and help farmers everywhere grow more productive crops," Gates said.

Georgieva said in a briefing reported by National Geographic that the commission should not be interpreted as a surrender to the dangerous climate change predicted by the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report if world leaders don't rapidly reduce emissions.

"For quite a while there has been that sense that if we adapt, that means we are accepting defeat against climate change," she said. "It is not defeat, it is reality."

The commission has 28 commissioners including its big-name leaders and represents 17 countries, among them big emitters like the UK, Canada, China and India and particularly vulnerable countries like Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands.

During the first year, the commission will prepare a report on the necessity and possibilities of climate adaptations, to be presented at the 2019 UN Secretary General Climate Summit.

National Geographic pointed out some existing climate adaptations of the type the commission might research and promote. Farmers in flood-vulnerable Bangladesh, for example, are switching from raising chickens to raising ducks, which can swim. Scientists in the Philippines are replanting the mangroves, half wiped out by development, that act as a natural flood barrier.

In total the cost of adaptations could be $300 billion by 2030 and $500 billion by 2050, Ban told The Guardian. While that might sound steep, Ban thought it was possible.

"The money can be mobilized," he said. "If there is political will, I think we can handle this matter."

The commission outlined four "roadblocks" to widespread climate adaptation that it would work to resolve:

1. Decision makers and the wider public are not yet aware of all the opportunities to be gained from becoming more resilient and less vulnerable to climate impacts and natural hazards;

2. Governments and businesses fail to incorporate climate change risks into their social and economic development plans and investments;

3. Adaptation efforts fall short of those who need them most, the world's poorest and most vulnerable people; and

4. Although adaptation is a global challenge, global leadership on the issue is scarce. In short, the world is falling short of the transformation required to adapt to a changing climate.

The commission is also an attempt to rebuild the political will around climate action that was damaged by the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

"We were very much united until December 2015 in Paris," Ban told the Guardian. "Now unfortunately the level of solidarity is being loosened, especially by the Trump administration. Even though it is just one country, it has caused big political damage."

While the U.S. federal government is not involved with the commission, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is a member.

This fall brings three new environmental movies. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet | Official Trailer

This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice walk out and rally at the company's headquarters to demand that leaders take action on climate change in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. JASON REDMOND / AFP via Getty Images

The world's largest online retailer is making it slightly easier for customer to make eco-conscious choices.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Moms Clean Air Force members attend a press conference hosted by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announcing legislation to ban chlorpyrifos on July 25, 2017. Moms Clean Air Force

The Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a risk assessment for toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos Tuesday that downplayed its effects on children's brains and may be the first indication of how the administration's "secret science" policy could impact public health.

Read More Show Less
Evacuees wait to board a bus as they are evacuated by local and state government officials before the arrival of Hurricane Laura on August 26, 2020 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Maria Trimarchi and Sarah Gleim

If all the glaciers and ice caps on the planet melted, global sea level would rise by about 230 feet. That amount of water would flood nearly every coastal city around the world [source: U.S. Geological Survey]. Rising temperatures, melting arctic ice, drought, desertification and other catastrophic effects of climate change are not examples of future troubles — they are reality today. Climate change isn't just about the environment; its effects touch every part of our lives, from the stability of our governments and economies to our health and where we live.

Read More Show Less
In 'My Octopus Teacher,' Craig Foster becomes fascinated with an octopus and visits her for hundreds of days in a row. Netflix

In his latest documentary, My Octopus Teacher, free diver and filmmaker Craig Foster tells a unique story about his friendship and bond with an octopus in a kelp forest in Cape Town, South Africa. It's been labeled "the love story that we need right now" by The Cut.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch