Climate change will have an impact on communities, especially the poor and vulnerable. For example, half a million farmers in rural India face crops failure due to bad weather. This is also evident in the UK as demonstrated by the summer floods in 2007. There is an urgent need to adapt to climate change but finding the money to finance adaptation is never easy. However, the climate talks in Bonn this week shows that it’s not always about accessing funding, but exploring innovative ways of generating and raising the money needed.
The Bonn meeting has seen a number of proposals for financing adaptation. The first is a Mexican proposal to raise billions of dollars through a ‘green fund’ plan that would oblige all countries to pay amounts according to a formula reflecting the size of their economy, their greenhouse gas emissions and the country’s population. A second proposal is made by 50 of the least developed countries to get commitment from developed countries, including the UK, to accept a compulsory levy on international flight tickets and shipping fuel to raise £6.25 billion a year to finance adaptation in developing countries. A third proposal is the support of an innovative micro-insurance scheme to provide poor communities in developing countries protection against bad weather, such as helping farmers insure against crop failure and access larger loans.
In the UK, we are lagging behind in innovative ideas like these for adaptation and there is much to learn from these developing countries. The UK has relatively more resources and capacity, but financing adaptation, especially at the local level, is insufficient. Local authorities together with their communities can develop appropriate adaptation solutions to minimise risks and maximise opportunities that a changing climate brings. However, these can only be achieved with appropriate finances. There needs to be more national commitment to and support for innovation in financing adaptation as well as recognition that we must take action to adapt now.