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Developing countries struggle to afford rising climate resilience costs

Developing countries require up to $387 billion annually to address the escalating impacts of climate change, according to a UN study reported on by the Financial Times. This amount represents a $47 billion increase from the previous year's assessment by the UN Environment Programme, with the updated report being released ahead of the COP28 climate summit, where climate funding for these nations is a top priority.

The UN report identifies a substantial "gap" in financing, estimated to be around $360 billion, which is 50% higher than initially believed. The call is for an annual investment of $215 billion to $387 billion this decade, but public finance flows to developing countries witnessed a 15% decline to $21 billion in 2021.

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Inger Andersen, UNEP's executive director, emphasizes that climate change's disruptive and deadly effects are intensifying in 2023, with record temperatures, wildfires, floods, and storms causing widespread devastation. She urges policymakers at the upcoming UN climate summit to pay heed to the research, boost financial support, and make COP28 a pivotal moment to protect low-income countries and vulnerable populations from climate impacts.

The focus at the upcoming COP28 in November will be on pressuring wealthier nations to meet previous funding commitments and the promise made at COP26 to deliver about $40 billion annually in adaptation finance support by 2025.

The UN study underscores the critical importance of investments in climate adaptation, spanning various activities such as food production maintenance during droughts and coastal defense against rising seas. The 55 most climate-vulnerable economies have already suffered losses and damages exceeding $500 billion over the past two decades, a figure expected to rise as climate change worsens.

Additionally, the report suggests options for increasing financing for adaptation, including reforms to the global financial architecture and multilateral development banks, highlighting the persistent nature of climate disruption even if greenhouse gas emissions were to cease today.

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