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Climate Adaptation Now

Governments and the private sector are feeling increasing pressure from the public to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and strengthen environmental conservation policies. But the world also cannot ignore the more immediate need for investments in climate resilience.

LUXEMBOURG – As world leaders gather in Madrid for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25), they must address more than future targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. They must also address the harm to people and livelihoods that climate change is already causing.

Strengthening our ability to adapt to climate change has never been more urgent. Many regions are experiencing major difficulties as a result of higher global temperatures and changing weather patterns. We must do more to help citizens and governments tackle issues such as rising sea levels, wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters, and increased coastal erosion. Even if we meet the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting the average global temperature increase to well below 2°C, at least 570 cities and some 800 million people will be at risk from rising sea levels and more frequent and destructive storms. And these dangers will grow as temperatures climb ever higher. The very existence of some island countries and coastal communities will be threatened.

It is thus essential to reduce the risks that climate change poses to humans and the economy. Unless action is taken, climate change will reduce global GDP per capita by more than 7% by 2100, with equally severe consequences for countries, whether they are rich or poor, hot or cold.

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