11 October 2017

IMF report urges rich nations to help low-income countries with climate adaptation

The International Monetary Fund released its latest World Economic Outlook report, where it dedicated one complete chapter making the case for the unequal consequences of climate change that low-income countries will have to bear, urging rich countries to contribute more toward both climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

The latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) report has dedicated approximately one fifth of the report analysing the impacts that extreme weather effects and climate change will have on global economic activity.

The third chapter, out of five, is called “The Effects of Weather Shocks on Economic Activity: How Can Low-Income Countries Cope?” and it warns that climate change will be one of the fundamental challenges of the 21st century.

It urges the international community to significantly enhance mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions “before they create more irreversible damage and help poorer countries, which are not themselves substantial emitters, adapt to climate change”.  

It underlined that richer countries must help low-income economies to adapt to “rapidly increasing temperatures”, as countries who have benefitted from increased carbon emissions to grow, now have a moral responsibility to act.

It stresses that even though low-income countries have contributed very little to the enhanced greenhouse gas effect, they are the ones that will have to face the adverse consequences of rising temperatures, since they tend to be located in some of the hottest parts of the planet.

More specifically, after having analysed historical patterns across 180 countries over the past 65 years, it revealed a non-liner relationship between temperature and growth increase.

This relationship means that in countries with already high temperatures, such as most low-income countries, a rise in temperatures will decrease the per capita output long-term

For example, IMF’s estimates suggest that a 1°C increase in temperature in a country with an average annual temperature of 25°C, such as Bangladesh, Haiti, or Gabon, would reduce per capita output by up to 1.5 percent, a loss that persists for at least 7 years.

Without any mitigation efforts, the projected temperature increase can erase approximately one tenth of the per capita output of a median low-income country by 2100.

The report says: “Advanced and emerging market economies have contributed the lion’s share to actual and projected climate change”.

“Helping low-income developing countries cope with the consequences of climate change is both a humanitarian imperative and sound global economic policy that helps offset countries’ failure to fully internalise the costs of greenhouse gas emissions”.

Moreover, the report stresses that rising global temperatures could wreak havoc in parts of the world, especially in hotter climates where people would be too poor to migrate.

Rich countries should actively help low-income countries to develop resilience to temperature increases, like for instance the successful  Productive Safety Net Program in Ethiopia , which supports households with environmental and infrastructure projects and programs to diversify income sources.

You can access the full World Economic Outlook here

Ethiopia’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Gemedo Dalle, will be presenting the country’s best practice around climate change adaption during his engagement at the 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum, in partnership with the UN Environment, 13 – 14 November, Bonn, during COP23. The Minister will contribute to the panel discussion on Climate Smart Agriculture. Joining him at the panel are: Naoko Ishii, CEO of GEF and Andrew Steer, Executive Director of World Resources Institute. The Forum brings together 600+ carefully handpicked delegates, including : Ministers of Energy and Climate Change, Blue Chip CEOs, Mayors, Responsible Investors, Development Banks, Green Entrepreneurs and media. To find out more and register, click here

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