Adaptation Funding – A Real Need

by Miguel Sossa on December 2, 2010

From inside the UN Delegation Hall – 2:00 pm:

Professor Thomas Gladwin, instructor for the University of Michigan’s annual Erb Seminar, asked his students to debate the following statement: “Humanity will be able to limit global warming to no more than 1.5-2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and will thus experience abrupt, irreversible, runaway and catastrophic climate change.”

The statement has gained new meaning today, as UN delegations just spent the past hour debating the need for further climate adaptation funding.

In doing so, it feels as though the UN may be throwing in the towel on that question, and instead focusing on how to address the catastrophic issues that are quickly emerging around the world today. Offering a clear example and also offering a nod to Professor Gladwin’s class, Bangladesh delivered this heartfelt message: “We are suffering here!” For Bangladesh, Guatemala, Jamaica, and many developing nations, adaptation support is needed. Coping is needed. Funding is needed and, as Grenada stated, they cannot do it alone. The funding debate has also created a political divide amongst developing and developed nations, a theme that has risen on multiple occasions over the last few days.

Adaptation needs are both real and present today. Finding funding mechanisms to address adaptation and ways to implement them will offer both challenges and opportunities for those who prepare themselves for the myriad challenges that lay ahead. Hopefully, students reading this blog will be among the many in a position to solve these issues in the future!

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