Summary of Climate Adaptation

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Climate Adaptation summary
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The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Climate Change offers a comprehensive overview of why the world must adapt to climate change. Providing valuable insight, the report suggests that societies can prevent as much as 65% of the projected losses from climate change through “adaptive investments.” This subject is vitally important, but the authors have cast the whole report in arms-length passive voice, thus their phrasing undercuts the urgency of their subject and their message – and yet, it is urgent. getAbstract recommends this thought-provoking study to decision makers in government and the private sector, as well as to activists, academicians and investors – in short, to everyone who bears the brunt of climate change.

About the Author

David Bresch, Sean de Cleene, Juan José Daboub, Rabi Mohtar, Richard Saines and Wu Changhua are members of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Climate Change, which seeks to enhance the ability of societies to withstand climate change.



Addressing Climate Change

Researchers and policy makers know that they must confront global climate change and its impact over the next 100 years. So far, the international community has been unable to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One study suggests likely losses of 1% to 12% of GDP annually if climate change patterns continue. By 2030, these losses may be as high as 19% of GDP. Much of this increased loss will “be driven by economic development in hazard-prone areas, such as cities in coastal regions.”

Businesses and governments must change their existing practices, for example, by constructing protective barriers against rising coastal waters around vital establishments like power plants. Societies can cost-effectively prevent as much as 65% of projected climate change losses through “adaptive investments.” Before mid-century, developing countries alone will need to borrow $100 billion per year to finance such adjustments.

Decision makers can use indices to decide where to focus their efforts and investments. Institutions must appreciate the complex relationship between physical infrastructure and intangible factors – like quality of governance – that enhance...

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