Adaptation & Resilience
Climate Change
Global Issues
Dennis Tänzler, adelphi
USA, Hurricane aftermath
Hurrican aftermath, USA | © John Middelkoop/

As the second week of COP25 in Madrid begins, it is time to stress once more the importance of building momentum for adaptation. At the beginning of the conference, Oxfam published a report outlining the profound impacts of extreme weather events such as flooding and cyclones: more than 20 million people are displaced each year by such events. Meanwhile, Zambia and Zimbabwe are currently facing the worst drought in a century, with tremendous impacts on the Victoria Falls. There is obviously a need for adaptation planning, implementation and financing. However, so far only seventeen countries have presented National Adaptation Plans (NAP) - despite international partners providing important support.

Whereas the international negotiations are bogged down with discussions on how to communicate adaptation activities, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has published a report that outlines in the costs of doing nothing: the bill for climate-linked disasters alone could reach $20 billion every year by 2050. At the same time, the Global Commission on Adaptation found that there are tremendous co-benefits to adaptation activities: e.g. supporting early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection, and investments in resilient water resource management. Adaptation activities could generate USD 7.1 trillion in total net benefits – but an initial investment of USD 1.8 trillion is needed.

It remains enormously challenging to effectively steer financial resources to the local level, where they are most needed. This is particularly alarming because vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change are highly localised, and the greatest impacts will be seen on the local level. Nevertheless, despite their needs, local entities often lack the financial resources to plan and implement adequate adaptation measures. In a recent analysis, adelphi shed some light on promising elements of so-called elevator functions – these are specific strategies or operating principles within programmes that aim to channel funding effectively through vertical administrative levels from the international to the local level, where the money can have maximum impact. The report also found widespread agreement that the bottom-up approach to adaptation needs to involve businesses and stakeholders on the ground in emerging and developing countries. This is essential for driving climate adaptation finance as local companies and communities are directly affected by climate change. Here, innovative bottom-up adaptation financing approaches are necessary – e.g. the approach taken for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the SEED initiative.

These are only two of the many possible entry points for informing adaptation governance as well as international negotiations in Madrid and beyond, and to ensure appropriate responses to the ongoing climate emergency.

Climate Change
Early Warning & Risk Analysis
Global Issues
Lauren Anderson, IISD

For the first time in the survey’s 10-year outlook, the top five global risks in terms of likelihood are all environmental. They are: extreme weather events, failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, major natural disasters, major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, and human-made environmental damage and disasters.

Climate Change
Land & Food
Sub-Saharan Africa
Issa Sikiti da Silva, SciDev.Net

Millions of people across Sub-Saharan Africa could face grave hunger in the first half of 2020 because of armed conflict, political instability and climate change-linked disasters, a report says.
The report published by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) this month says that the countries affected will require life-saving food assistance and investment to prevent humanitarian catastrophes.

Climate Change
Oceania & Pacific
Daisy Dunne, Josh Gabbatiss and Robert McSweeney, Carbon Brief

Australia is currently experiencing one of its worst bushfire seasons, with swathes of the southern and eastern coastal regions having been ablaze for weeks.  As the fires have spread, there has been extensive media coverage both nationally and internationally documenting – and debating – their impacts. This Carbon Brief overview summarises how the fires – and the political response to them – have been covered by the media.

Climate Diplomacy
Global Issues
Lou Del Bello

The latest climate talks unravelled when parties failed to reach consensus on the global carbon market mandated by the Paris Agreement. The carbon market controversy emerged amidst new tensions between a growing grassroots climate movement and the climate sceptic agenda of populist leaders. The ball is now in the court of the climate laggards, but they can only halt global climate action for so long.