Two years have now passed since Superstorm Sandy crashed into the northeast of the United States, showing Americans the need for climate action. Sandy remains one of the most expensive extreme weather events in history, costing corporations and governments over $40B. And this year, a drought bit deep across the largest drought-declared area ever in Queensland, Australia. But extreme weather events like bigger, more destructive hurricanes; hotter, longer droughts; record-breaking wildfires and “biblical floods” are not just the domain of two of the richest countries in the world.
Last year at this time, we were, mourning the loss of over 6000 lives from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. That tragedy cost $13 billion in economic fall-out. In 2011, an unprecedented flood in Southern Thailand caused over $150 billion in damage.
In fact, ND-GAIN scientists have calculated that people living in least developed countries have 10 times more chance of being affected by a climate disaster than those in wealthy countries EACH YEAR; And the IPCC report released last week shows we are heading in the wrong direction. That is a catalyst for all of us – hundreds or thousands of lives are at risk. We must adapt.
Over the course of the last several years, the world’s awareness for the need to adapt has grown.
How do we respond, informing investments and policies that save lives and improve livelihoods in the face of global shifts?
Our meeting on November 5th served as an ideal platform for participants to deliberate development and business risks and opportunities as we explored successful adaptation efforts, predictions of future challenges and developments in adaptation measurement while learning first hand of trends evident from the ND-GAIN Country Index 2014. Thirty speakers from all sectors shared their insights, and we released our Country Index to enhance the world’s understanding of the importance of adaptation and inform public and private investments in vulnerable communities.