Publication today of the IPCC report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability has called into question global strategies to protect ourselves from the consequences of climate change. It has identified a funding shortfall.
80% of the funding for global climate change is applied to what is called Mitigation, in other words actions and programmes to lessen carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Only 20% of climate change funding is applied to what is called Adaptation, in other words measures taken to protect our society from the effects of climate change that are already taking place. Its chilling conclusions tell us that we now are at a point where these effects are already inevitable and irreversible.
As if the point needed to be proved, on the same day in the same news bulletin, the worst floods ever recorded in Australia were suffered in Queensland and New South Wales, killing at least 8 people, and displacing countless others. The cost in human and financial terms is enormous.
The report is produced by Working Group II as a contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report. This report concludes that +1.5 degree rise is inevitable (we currently stand at +1.1 degrees), that the consequences are already with us and cannot be reversed, and that even if we manage to return to temperatures below this level by the end of the century, we will not be able to restore the conditions we are losing now.
"The world we live in now will not be the same as the world we live in, in as little as five years time, certainly ten or fifteen years from now," says Working Group Co-Chair, Professor Debra Roberts.
The need now is for adaptation measures. If we had spent more time working on these, the floods in New South Wales would have done less damage. We would have prepared for them. A new term is appearing in this IPCC report: "maladaptation". We are adapting ourselves for the future in the wrong way.
"As we digest this chilling report, the need to develop new technologies and integrate them within our established systems for living is greater than ever," comments Nick Lyth, President of Green Angel Syndicate, the UK's largest network of specialist investors fighting climate change.
"This is a clarion call for help, for all of us to find the technologies that are going to innovate and change the way we all access the requirements for our own lives, and more particularly the requirements for those in the worst-threatened regions of the world," says Lyth.