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According to a report by world leaders, the world's readiness for the inevitable effects of the climate crisis is "gravely insufficient," the lack of preparedness is severe, and leaders must radically rethink how they make decisions.
This lack of preparedness will result in poverty, water scarcity and levels of migration, with an "irrefutable cost to human life," former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (president), Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva (co-chairs) of the Global Commission on Adaptation warn in their foreword to their new report “Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience”
It takes a trillion dollar investment to avoid “climate apartheid,” where the rich escape the effects and the poor do not, but this investment is far less than the eventual cost of doing nothing.
The study said that the biggest obstacle was not money but the lack of "political leadership that would pull people out of their collective dream."
A "revolution" is needed to understand and plan for the dangers of global warming and to finance solutions.
The Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), initially established by the Netherlands and now jointly convened by 19 other countries, produced the report.
It has contributions from the environment ministers of China, India and Canada, the heads of the World Bank and the UN climate and environment divisions, and others.
Among the most urgent actions recommended are: early warning systems of impending disasters, the development of crops that can withstand droughts and the restoration of mangroves to protect the coasts, while other measures include painting the roofs of houses white to reduce temperatures from heat waves.
The foreword to the report reads: “The climate crisis is here, now: Massive wildfires ravage fragile habitats, city taps dry up, droughts scorch the land, and massive floods destroy people's homes and livelihoods. . So far the response has been seriously insufficient ”.
Ban Ki-moon said: “I am really concerned about the lack of vision of the political leaders. They are much more interested in being elected and re-elected, and climate problems are not on their priorities.
And he added: "We are seeing this in the United States with President Donald Trump."
The report says severe effects are now inevitable and estimates that, unless precautions are taken, 100 million more people could fall into poverty by 2030. It further says that the number of people without water each year will increase by 1,400 and 5 billion, leading to unprecedented competition for water, fueling conflict and migration.
On the coasts, rising sea levels and storms will drive hundreds of millions from their homes, at a cost of US $ 1 trillion a year by 2050. So the lack of preparation to anticipate these situations is doubly serious.
The Guardian newspaper reports that Patrick Verkooijen, executive director of the Global Adaptation Center, said: "What we really see is the risk of climate apartheid, where the rich pay to escape and the rest are left to suffer."
“That is a very deep moral injustice. It is in a nation's own interest to invest in adaptation, ”Verkooijen said.
The report estimates that spending US $ 1.8 trillion by 2030 in five key areas could generate US $ 7.1 trillion in net benefits, avoiding damage and increasing economic growth.
Reducing carbon emissions is vital, the GCA report said, but this had received nearly 20 times more funding than adaptation in recent years.
Climate effects must be factored into the decisions of future decision-makers such as business leaders.
Verkooijen said nations should follow France to make it mandatory for large companies to report climate risks to their businesses.