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Adaptation at COP26

Adaptation at COP26 7 September 2021

COP26 summit urged to prioritise adaptation as ‘climate emergency’ surges (via Reuters)

By Megan Rowling

On the heels of last month’s warning from the U.N. climate science panel that extreme weather and rising seas are hitting faster than expected, leaders called on Monday for more money and political will to help people adapt to the new reality.

At a dialogue in Rotterdam convened by the Global Center on Adaptation, more than 50 ministers and heads of climate organisations and development banks called for November’s COP26 climate talks to treat adaptation as “urgent”.

In a communique, they said adaptation – which ranges from building higher flood defences to growing more drought–tolerant crops and relocating coastal communities – had not benefited from the same attention, resources or level of action as efforts to cut planet–heating emissions.

That has left communities worldwide “exposed to a climate emergency unfolding faster than predicted”, they said.

“Adaptation can no longer go under–prioritised,” they added. “It is imperative for COP26 to launch an acceleration in adaptation efforts to enable the world to keep pace with this most profound and far–reaching emergency.”

They warned that the COP26 summit, to be hosted in Britain, would not succeed unless it made advancing adaptation efforts an equal priority with cutting carbon emissions.

The Rotterdam meeting – attended by former U.N. Secretary–General Ban Ki–moon, U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa and International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Kristalina Georgieva – heard from representatives of African nations, small island developing states and other climate–vulnerable countries.

They spoke of how communities are struggling with unusually severe flooding, drought and storms, as well as the COVID–19 pandemic, setting back hard–won development gains and uprooting people into city slums or even across national borders as become unable to survive on their land.

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