We had two very successful curtain-raiser events for Adaptation Futures (AF) 2020 at COP25 in Madrid. One of these was organised by TERI at the India Pavilion on the 2nd of December and the other was organised by WMO on the 7th of December organised at the WMO-IPCC pavilion. The two events highlighted the urgent need to adapt to climate change and the requirement for accelerating adaptation action. The role of AF 2020 was discussed in context of furthering adaptation science and bridging the gap between science, policy and practice by translating it to a language that is accessible to a wide variety of stakeholders including policy makers, private sector entities, practitioners and researchers. AF2020 has been set out as a platform to build momentum for dialogue addressing climate change challenges and finding action-oriented solutions that feeds into the Climate Action Summit in September 2020 in New York, the Adaptation Action Summit in October 2020 in the Netherlands and COP26 in Glasgow at the end of next year.
The GCA, in its recent report, has laid out that the costs of climate change on the lives of people and the economy will be high, and has provided irrefutable scientific evidence to back this claim. The report states that “accelerating climate change adaptation is a human, environmental, and economic imperative”.
The report states that the case for ambitious adaptation is clear, but it’s not happening at nearly the pace and scale required. There is a need for three revolutions: A Revolution in Understanding, A Revolution in Planning and A Revolution in Finance. “Fully implemented, these three revolutions will protect lives, livelihoods, homes, and jobs in the face of climate change”.
These revolutions must be applied to the key systems affected by climate change: systems that produce food, protect and manage water and the natural environment, plan and build our cities and infrastructure, protect people from disasters, and provide financing for a more resilient future.
The report emphasises that the next 15 months are critical to mobilizing action on climate change and support global development. The GCA has started building this momentum from the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 and will continue adding to it through coming year, including importantly at the Climate Adaptation Summit in the Netherlands in October 2020, in the lead up to the international climate summit, COP26, in December 2020.
AF2020 stands poised to bring visibility to these messages from the GCA report and strengthen focus on accelerating adaptation action before the Climate Action Summit in October 2020.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on all leaders across the world to gather in New York on 23 September, 2019 “with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.” The UN Climate Action Summit 2019 convened on the theme “Climate Action Summit 2019: A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win”.
Major announcements by government and private sector leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit boosted climate action momentum, and demonstrated growing recognition that the pace of climate action must be rapidly accelerated.
The major areas of commitment included unprecedented private sector action, transition to green energy and carbon-neutral economies, scaling up finance and access to funds for climate change action, increasing focus on adaptation and resilience and active youth participation.
The Summit delivered a boost in momentum, cooperation and ambition and brought forth new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear. Adaptation Futures 2020 is ideally placed to take this conversation forward, in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow in 2020.