Developing resilience to climate changeThe need for adaptationDegrees of adaptationPolicies and action – global political contextCanada’s role in global climate adaptation
Developing resilience to climate changeGiven that the impacts of climate change are already being felt around the world it is important that vulnerable regions and people are able to adapt. Relatively rich countries, like Canada, are disproportionately responsible for generating the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change and it is our responsibility to do our fair share to help vulnerable communities adapt to a problem they did little to create.The Canadian government committed $400 million last year to help poorer countries adapt to climate change and reduce their own greenhouse gas pollution. This amount does represent Canada’s ‘fair share’ of the global total agreed to at the Copenhagen climate summit, but there were a number of problems with where this money came from and how it is being administered. The money was taken out of the existing budget for international aid, instead of being ‘new and additional’ as required by the Copenhagen Accord. In addition to the money not being above and beyond what Canada was doing anyway, a disproportionate share of this money is only available in the form of loans. The world’s poorest countries are dealing with a problem they did little to create, and they should have access to grants to help them prepare for the worst impacts of climate change.More information.
The UNFCCC estimates that the global annual cost of adapting to climate change by 2030 will be between 49 and 170 billion USD
The need for adaptationAdapting to climate change requires taking the right measures to minimize adverse effects of climate change. Different adaptation measures are available ranging from technological such as increased sea defenses or flood-proof houses to behavior change like reducing water and energy use. Read more with Oxfam Canada’s Climate change threatens, demands adaptation study.
Degrees of adaptationThe capacity of a community to adapt to risks or impacts of climate change is determined by several factors such as economic resources, technology, education, information, skills, infrastructure etc.At a global level, significant variations exist among countries with regard to access and availability of the above resources and hence, different countries possess different degrees of adaptive capacity. In general, countries with well developed technology, information, infrastructure and institutions have more capacity to adapt to climate change. On the other hand, countries with least access to these factors have less adaptive capacity and hence are more vulnerable to climate change.Adaptive capacity of a region can be improved by incorporating appropriate development decisions, activities, and programs that address equity issues and increase resources accessibility. Learn more…
Policies and action – global political contextIn 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established at the Rio Earth Summit. Under this convention, rich countries agreed to limit their own greenhouse pollution as well as help poorer countries adapt to a problem they did little to create while helping them to also develop clean energy futures. Linked to this convention is the Kyoto Protocol, in which developed countries agreed that, given their historically greater contributions to the problem of climate change, they in turn should do more to both reduce greenhouse gas pollution as well as to support and help more vulnerable countries as they adapt to an already changing climate.
Canada’s role in global climate adaptationCanada being a large economy and possessing high per capita GHG emissions holds a responsibility to support developing nations to reduce their emissions and to protect people, ecosystems and economies from the impacts of climate change damage. According to an estimate suggested in the report ‘our-fair-share’ from the Pembina institute, Canada should invest up to C$430M per year to support action on climate change in the world’s poorest countries.