Climate Change Minute: A Quick Look Into The Climate Adaptation Finance


Even if global emissions of greenhouse gases are drastically reduced and concentrations are stabilized at 450 parts per million (ppm) of equivalent carbon dioxide (CO²), the annual global mean average temperature is expected to be 2ºC (or more) above pre-industrial levels by the middle of the century.

Climate change projections and impact assessments are highly uncertain, not just because no model is currently able to accurately capture every complex socio – economic – ecological interaction and their future pathways under different mitigation scenarios, but also because of the uncertainty of the mitigation paths that will be pursued.  Since the development of global climate policy in the early 1990s, the process has been dominated by emissions reductions policies and measures (mitigation). But it was only with the start of negotiations on the post – 2012 climate policy regime, that adaptation to climate change was given as equal importance as mitigation activities.

Since 2012, as fast finance worth billions of dollars focuses into adaptation programs and projects; the need for an effective system for tracking finance has become urgent. In the absence of an internationally agreed system that permits the effective tracking of funds from donors down to  project level activities, multilateral institutions and other stakeholders interested in the allocation of adaptation funds have begun to develop their own approaches (J. Mayhew, 2011).

It has become increasingly clear that in order for international efforts aimed at mobilizing financial resources for climate change adaptation, to be successful, there is a need to have sound adaptation finance tracking methodologies in place. Yet, while finance tracking criteria have been developed by some institutions, no harmonized methodologies exist and accounting for climate finance data still lacks robustness. Presently there is “no comprehensive system for storing and accessing data on international climate finance. While systems exist for reporting and verification of specific elements of climate finance, these systems are limited in scope, mandate, and function. Moreover, none of the current systems are comprehensive nor do they foster comparability or integration of data across sources” (B. Buchner, 2011). The international community recognizes the need to join forces to avert dangerous climate change. This involves mobilizing financial resources from different sources.

In this context, defining what should or should not be counted as contributing to this purpose becomes increasingly necessary. Yet tracking and classifying climate adaptation finance is still a gray area.