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Mind the Adaptation Gap


If the COP21 Paris climate agreement is to help developing countries to cope with and adapt to the impacts of climate change, it must ensure that richer countries provide the necessary financial support to meet these challenges. Without such an agreement, there is a serious risk of global inaction worsening inequalities that already distort economies and create dangerous divisions in societies.

Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to climate change and adaptation in these countries will be challenging, costly and an extra effort. Adaptation requires a great deal of assessment, trial and learning, as well as investment in technology, communications, infrastructures, institutions, trainings, outreach and many more approaches.

These efforts require significant financial support from richer countries.

However, despite group, political promises from developed countries, individual nations have been slow to deliver them, leaving vulnerable countries worried that they will have to face the severe consequences of a problem that they did not cause alone.

In this report, ActionAid takes the most credible yet still conservative existing estimates of the total cost of adaptation for developing countries and divides the cost into “fair shares” for individual contributor (developed) countries.

Taking into account considerations such as historical emissions of greenhouse gases and economic capacity, we find that financial commitments made by rich countries to date fall far short of these fair shares, causing serious implications for vulnerable countries.