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Time Running Out For Countries On Climate Crisis Front Line


The world’s running out of time to limit global
temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius, a matter of
life or death for climate vulnerable countries on the front
line of the crisis, the UN Secretary General reiterated on
Thursday.

Speaking to the first Climate
Vulnerable Finance
Summit of 48 nations systemically
exposed to climate related disasters, António Guterres said
they needed reassurance that financial and technical support
will be forthcoming.

“To rebuild trust, developed
countries must clarify now, how they will effectively
deliver $100 billion dollars in climate finance annually to
the developing world, as was promised over a decade ago”,
he said.

The UN chief said that to get the “world
back on its feet”, restore cooperation between governments
and recover from the pandemic in a climate resilient way,
the most vulnerable countries had to be properly
supported.

Risk of calamity

Mr. Guterres asked
for a clear plan to reach established climate finance goals
by 2025, something he promised to emphasize to the G20
finance ministers at their upcoming meeting this
week.

He added that the development finance
institutions play a big role supporting countries in the
short-term, and they will either facilitate low carbon,
climate-resilient recovery, or it will entrench them in high
carbon, business-as-usual, fossil fuel-intensive
investments. “We cannot let this happen”, he
said.

The Secretary-General reminded that the climate
impacts we are seeing today – currently at 1.2 degrees above
pre-industrial levels – give the world a glimpse of what
lies ahead: prolonged droughts, extreme and intensified
weather events and ‘horrific flooding’.

“Science
has long warned that we need to limit temperature rise to
1.5 degrees. Beyond that, we risk calamity… Limiting
global temperature rise is a matter of survival for climate
vulnerable countries”, he emphasized.

More
adaptation

The UN chief highlighted that only 21% of
the climate finance goes towards adaptation and resilience,
and there should be a balanced allocation for both
adaptation and mitigation.

Current adaptation costs
for developing countries are $70 billion dollars a year, and
this could rise to as much as $300 billion dollars a year by
2030, he warned.

“I am calling for 50 percent of
climate finance globally from developed countries and
multilateral development banks to be allocated to adaptation
and resilience in developing countries. And we must make
access to climate finance easier and
faster”.

Invest to save thousands of lives: WMO
report

The UN chief also welcomed on Thursday a new
report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) which reveals that
an estimated 23,000 lives per year could be saved – with
potential benefits of at least $162 billion per year –
through improving weather forecasts, early warning systems,
and climate information, known as hydromet.

In a video
message to mark the publication of the first
Hydromet Gap Report
,, the Secretary-General said that
these services were essential for building resilience in the
face of climate change.

Mr. Guterres called once more
for a breakthrough on adaptation and resilience in 2021,
with significant increases in the volume and predictability
of adaptation finance.

He noted that Small Island
Developing States and Least Developed Countries where large
gaps remain in basic weather data, would benefit the
most.

“These affect the quality of forecasts
everywhere, particularly in the critical weeks and days when
anticipatory actions are most needed”, he
said.

According to WMO, investments in multi-hazard
early warning systems create benefits worth at least ten
times their costs and are vital to building resilience to
extreme weather.

Currently, only 40 percent of
countries have effective warning systems in
place.

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