What is adaptation? Adaptation means building resilience to the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather. It complements mitigation efforts that attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the risks from the climate crisis.
The role of adaptation has grown in climate policy negotiations in recent years, and was key to the Paris Agreement. However, it is still massively under financed.
As Fiona Harvey explains in her Cop28 jargon buster:
“The world has already warmed by 1.1-1.2C above pre-industrial levels, and some of the impacts of the current heating are irreversible, so even if we succeed in cutting emissions drastically, we will still need to adapt to the impacts of more extreme weather.
Infrastructure, including transport, telecommunications networks, housing and rural areas will need to be adapted and protected, for instance by building railways less likely to buckle in the heat or roads less likely to melt, and building houses that will not overheat.”
The global goal on adaptation (GGA) – a collective commitment proposed by the African group in 2013 and established under the Paris agreement – is meant to serve as a framework to drive political action and finance for adaptation on the same scale as mitigation, and is also due to be completed in Dubai. Key questions about the design, scope, implementation, tracking and who should pay have stymied progress for the last eight years – and also at Cop28, where a final report defining the GGA has been promised. On Saturday we published a story on concerns from the Africa group about the lack of progress on adaptation, which the chief negotiator described as a “life and death” issue for the continent.
Draft text was finally published this morning, and as always it’s a mixed bag. Here are some of the key takeaways from Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at the Climate Action Network, a coalition of almost 2000 climate groups.
The finance gap is highlighted, and developed countries are urged to double finance from 2019 levels by 2025 but the text doesn’t reflect the urgency or mention the latest UN adaptation gap report which said finance for adaptation needed to reach $194-366bn (£155-290bn) a year.
Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) – which are core issues for developing historically low emission countries and form part of UNFCCC framework and Paris agreement – is being fought by some developed countries, which inserted a ‘no text’ option into the draft
Setting specific measurable targets for global adaptation is key for the GGA to be meaningful, but it looks like this could be further delayed with another two-year work program to develop metrics to measure progress on adaptation related to water scarcity, water-related hazards, health, food, agriculture, and ecosystems,
There are important references to human rights, intergenerational rights, social justice, vulnerable groups, cascading risks and social protection measures.
“The document acknowledges the significant gap in adaptation finance, however, the crucial issue remains the prompt and effective bridging of this gap by developed countries, in line with their financial obligations under UN climate agreements.”
Teresa Anderson, global lead on climate justice for ActionAid international, said:
“The new draft is disappointing. It still has only soft language that politely encourages developed countries to play their part, but doesn’t go far enough in actually requiring wealthy countries to provide the finance needed to make the adaptation goal a reality on the ground. Given developed countries’ reluctance to do anything they aren’t obliged to, we all know this is code for ‘only if you feel like it, but no worries if you don’t.’ This is unlikely to provide the reassurance that developing countries need.
“The hotter the planet becomes, the more costs countries on the frontline of the climate crisis will bear. Developed countries therefore also have to do their bit to make this global goal happen, which means providing finance.”
The air quality is particularly bad in Dubai this morning at the Cop28 venue, with PM2.5 particle pollution levels currently 22 times above the daily recommended levels under the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines, according to one monitor.
IQAir classifies today’s air quality as unhealthy and encourages people to stay indoors, avoid outdoor exercise and run an air purifier. There is a haze over the city skyline this morning, including the Cop28 venue.
My colleague Nina Lakhani has written about how the United Arab Emirates’ vast fossil fuel production is contributing to dangerously high air pollution levels, creating health risks for its people and migrant workers in addition to heating the planet, according to a recent Human Rights Watch report.
Good morning. This is Natalie Hanman, on the tenth day (if we don’t count Thursday’s rest day) of the 28th Conference of the Parties climate change summit, or Cop28.
The Guardian is liveblogging the negotiations throughout, and we look forward to your contributions: please email me on email@example.com with thoughts and suggestions. Jonathan Watts (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be taking over later on.
Today’s theme is food, agriculture and water.
This is supposed to be the year when food finally comes into focus at the summit, with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) launching its Global Roadmap for Agriculture report later this morning. Until now, the UN has not set out in detail how we can both feed the world and radically reduce global greenhouse gases – food production is a major source of emissions. The Guardian reported last month that ex-officials at the FAO say its leadership censored and undermined them when they highlighted how livestock methane is a major greenhouse gas.
At the same time, the negotiations – over fossil fuels, climate finance and more – continue at pace as we enter the final days of the summit and we’ll have any updates for you on those.
Here’s a summary of yesterday’s main developments in Dubai:
Azerbaijan will host Cop29 next year.
Activists criticised the UNFCCC’s handling of protests.
A dozen countries, led by the Netherlands, announced a crack down on subsidies for fossil fuels.
Campaigners hit back at oil cartel OPEC’s attempt to make its members reject any text that targets fossil fuels.
Talks on fair and equitable finance for climate adaptation have so far failed to deliver, the Africa group warned.
China ‘would like to see agreement to substitute renewables for fossil fuels’