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Adaptation cost in developing nations to be more than earlier expected

The cost of adaptation in developing countries is likely be at least two to three times higher than the expected $ 70-100 billion per year by 2050, even with emissions cuts, the United Nations Environment Programme said in a report today.

The UNEP Adaptation Gap Report highlights gaps worldwide in finance, technology, and knowledge.

It further goes into details about how to ensure better definitions of adaptation finance and bridging the existing gaps.

The report issued during the end of the first week of the Lima climate talks, is particularly relevant to India and other developing countries because its post-2020 assessment of a funding gap.

Public source funding reached $ 23-36 billion $ in 2012-2013 but the report states that ‘new and additional’ finance must be made available to avoid a ‘significant gap’ in the post-2020 era.

As Rajendra Pachauri of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted in the opening plenary earlier this week at the start of the Lima talks, ‘the longer we delay…The more difficult…The more intractable…The more expensive’ and this UNEP report as well as the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2014 confirm it.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report echoes the UNEP estimates of increased cost of adaptation.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, said in a statement, “This report underlines the importance of including comprehensive adaptation plans in the [Paris 2015] agreement.”

Interim head of the Indian delegation, Susheel Kumar, said India will ‘stick to what we have been saying. Developing country positions are slightly varying’ but the message is consistent.

Any Paris 2015 agreement and intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) by countries will need to be more adaptation-focussed than currently, which is tipping in the direction of mitigation efforts.

Kumar noted that India has reached 30 approved state action plans, the base for the Indian INDC to be submitted around June 2015.

Steiner advised countries at the Lima talks to that ‘national authorities and the international community should take the necessary steps to ensure the funding, technology and knowledge gaps are addressed in future planning and budgeting.’

The report points to a study which estimates that adaptation costs in the South Asian subcontinent by itself will cost upwards of $ 40 billion.

However, Kumar noted, ‘a gap does not have to be just about money,’ a gap could involve knowledge sharing, for instance.

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