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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Stern on Adaptation

Stern is back with a new report outlining the key element of a global deal to drive action on climate change. On adaptation, the report sums up the issue as follows:

"Taken together, all this implies that rather than treating adaptation as separate from development, it should be seen as an additional cost and complexity to delivering standard development goals. . .The most effective way of achieving this is to integrate climate risk, and the additional resources required to tackle it, into planning and budgeting for and delivering these development goals. This requires a portfolio of adaptation responses, from changing planning, policy and institutions (based on better investment in and access to climate information), to improved access to markets (particularly insurance) and technologies (such as crop varieties) and ensuring climate sensitive investments are climate resilient. Adaptation should be understood as the impacts of climate change on standard development outcomes, not whether the response to these impacts can be defined as separable from ‘standard’ development activities."

This largely frames international adaptation efforts in the context of development, which perhaps overlooks the challenges that developed nations will face themselves with respect to adaptation - capacity to adapt and actual adaptation are two different things. Stern also argues that private investment should handle the bulk of adaptation needs in the developing world, with public investment being used to fill critical gaps (e.g., where there is little or no incentive for private investment) or to leverage private investment.

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