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"We intend to make good on our Climate Finance Pledge. There is simply no adapting to a 4 degree warmer world except for the most privileged. We are coming back with humility and will work with multilateral institutions." – John Kerry @ClimateEnvoy#AdaptationSummitpic.twitter.com/BqT0LDo13H
Appearing virtually at the United Nations (UN) Climate Adaptation Summit, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry said he “regretted” America’s three-year absence from international climate talks and struck a tone of conciliation and cooperation in his first international meeting. In the short remarks, he vowed that America is back and will work hard to raise climate ambitions and to raise funds for climate adaptation and resilience projects in the countries most harmed by the crisis, which also can least afford to deal with climate change. And Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres said “We are waging war on nature and destroying our life support system, and nature is striking back,” and added that 2021 is the “make-it-or-break-it year.”
Why This Matters: Tone is so important in diplomacy and after a significant absence, a lack of humility might have been seen as tone-deaf by many nations who pushed hard for continued progress after the U.S. walked out. The summit was an important step too. Several leaders made commitments to adaptation including the U.K. and German governments. The key is funding for projects, including nature-based solutions that can help solve both the climate and the biodiversity crises at once.
After explaining the genuine nature of Biden’s climate initiatives, Kerry offered up the following soft commitments — he will work to leverage US innovation on climate, promote better understanding and management of climate risks in developing nations and support collaborations between the private sector and the impacted communities. He also promised to come to the next Climate Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting prepared to push for an “ambitious climate action in which all major emitter country raise their ambition significantly and in which we help protect those who are the most vulnerable.”
Adaptation Is Underfunded
Guterres called out the development banks and asked them to provide fuding to fill the $70 billion annual gap for addressing climate impacts by scaling up finance and allocating half of climate funds to adaptation programmes. Today countries only invest about one fifth of climate finance in adaptation – and analysis by Care International found that figure may have been overreported. The U.K. promised to launch of a global coalition to address climate impacts, building on a previous joint initiative with Egypt. The Germans pledged funding — an additional €100m for the Adaptation Fund specifically to support least developed countries.
The planet needs an optimistic woman and fortunately for us, we have a really powerful one — Christiana Figueres. After having guided the Paris Climate Accord to completion — she served as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010-2016 — now Figueres is trying to change the narrative around achieving a sustainable future.
North Carolina Coastal Federation has a nature-based plan for dealing with heavy rainfall that captures and filters water instead. Green infrastructure includes solutions like rain gardens, restoring wetlands, and permeable pavement. The state plan calls for comprehensive incorporation of nature-based stormwater strategies across roadways, farmland, and in new building construction.
Why This Matters: It’s not just sea-level rise that causes increased flooding and infrastructure damage: heavy rains can be just as disruptive. Using plants, dirt, and other natural ways to handle excess water is often simpler and more cost-effective than their conventional counterparts.
The world is becoming more and more like The Matrix every day, at least in one particular way: scientists have figured out how to use the human body as a battery. No, your body can’t produce enough energy to create a global simulation, but it can produce enough heat to charge wearable devices like smartwatches and implants like pacemakers.
Why This Matters: Battery production and disposal have been problematic for decades. Mining for rare earth metals like such as cadmium, mercury, lead, and lithium threatens environments and communities across the globe.
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