The price tag of adapting to climate change threatens to rise quickly for developing countries.

This is the view of a report published by the UN environmental program UNEP on Thursday.

In ten years' time, the annual costs of 'climate adaptation' for poor countries will amount to 115 to 247 billion euros.

By 2050 this could have risen to more than 400 billion euros.

That is a multiple of what rich industrial countries have promised in the Paris climate agreement as adaptation aid for poor countries.

In practice, that support is also smaller.

The aid from industrialized countries to developing countries is increasing slowly, but the costs of necessary adaptations to climate change are likely to rise much faster, Pieter Pauw told

He researches climate finance and is one of the authors of the UN report, the

Adaptation Gap Report


The costs are the sum of large and small measures.

From an African farmer with declining agricultural yields who has to invest in irrigation or other crops, to major changes to infrastructure in low-lying areas that are in danger of flooding.

Because of this sensitive infrastructure, the absolute costs of climate adaptation are highest in rich industrial countries.

"But the relative costs are highest in poor countries. There is simply no money left for adaptation to climate change."

Costs increase as global warming increases

The aim of climate adaptation is to reduce the vulnerability of countries and communities to the consequences of climate change.

Adaptation is one of the pillars of the Paris climate agreement, which also aims to limit global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The higher those emissions and global warming, the higher the damage caused by climate change, economists warn.

If you weigh the required investments against the economic damage of climate change, ambitious climate policy has the highest return, German researchers calculated last year.

The topics of adapting to the consequences and addressing the source are also intertwined, says Pauw.

Because also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a major shift in financing is needed internationally.

'Diverting money flows is key to successful climate policy'

"In the Paris Agreement, aid has been promised to help poor countries with adaptation and with reducing emissions. But less well known is another part of the agreement, which states that all participating countries must also take steps to align financial markets. with the climate goals. "

In the long term, money flows must be redirected in such a way that they contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in resilience to the consequences, Pauw quotes the relevant fragment.

UNEP therefore calls on countries in the report to set stricter sustainability criteria for investments.

That is a step to discourage polluting investments and to stimulate sustainable investments, Pauw explains.

"If countries succeed in putting this agreement from the Paris Agreement into practice, it will kill several birds with one stone: funding for polluting energy projects will dry up, while renewable energy can accelerate."

More money available for adjustments

"In addition, more money will be made available for necessary adaptations, and new infrastructure must be climate-proof. This could, for example, draw a line through the construction of a new hotel right on the coast."

Ultimately, this will also benefit the financial world, says Pauw.

"Because climate change will in time also pose a threat to the stability of financial markets."

A climate summit on climate adaptation will be held in the Netherlands at the end of January.