I think it's fanciful to consider adapting to climate change will be viable: as problems mount, will react, but continually behind and falling further behind what's needed. New report helps reinforce my view, as says adaptation more costly than had been estimated:
[quote]Scientists led by a former co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will warn today that the UN negotiations aimed at tackling climate change are based on substantial underestimates of what it will cost to adapt to its impacts.
The real costs of adaptation are likely to be 2-3 times greater than estimates made by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), say Professor Martin Parry and colleagues in a new report published by the International Institute for Environment and Development and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London.
The report adds that costs will be even more when the full range of climate impacts on human activities is considered.
The new report’s key findings include:
- Water: The UNFCCC estimate of US$11 billion excluded costs of adapting to floods and assumes no costs for transferring water within nations from areas of surplus to areas of deficit. The underestimate could be substantial, according to the new report.
- Health: The UNFCCC estimate of US$5 billion excluded developed nations, and assessed only malaria, diarrhoea and malnutrition. This could cover only 30-50% of the global total disease burden, according to the new report.
- Infrastructure: The UNFCCC estimate of US$8-130 billion assumed that low levels of investment in infrastructure will continue to characterise development in Africa and other relatively poor parts of the world. But the new report points out that such investment must increase in order to reduce poverty and thus avoid continuing high levels of vulnerability to climate change. It says the costs of adapting this upgraded infrastructure to climate change could be eight times more costly than the higher estimates predicted by the UNFCCC.
- Coastal zones: The UNFCCC estimate of US$11 billion excluded increased storm intensity and used low IPCC predictions of sea level rise. Considering research on sea level rise published since the 2007 IPCC report, and including storms, the new report suggests costs could be about three times greater than predicted.
Ecosystems: The UNFCCC excluded from its estimates the costs of protecting ecosystems and the services they can provide for human society. The new report concludes that that this is an important source of under-estimation, which could cost over US$350 billion, including both protected and non-protected areas.[/quote]
Costs of adapting to climate change significantly under-estimated
[pdf of report available via this link]