As Africa’s climate warms, rich countries pledge more funds

MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) — Rich countries said they will spend about $25 billion by 2025 to boost Africa’s efforts to adapt to climate change as the continent continues to struggle with drought, cyclones and extreme heat, according to officials at a summit in Rotterdam in the Netherlands on Monday.

The amount promised by the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program — a joint initiative between various nations and organizations — is billed as the largest ever adaptation effort globally. Half of the amount is pledged by the African Development Bank with representatives from Denmark, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, the International Monetary Fund and others also offering their support for the initiative.

The continent emits just 3% to 4% of emissions despite being home to nearly 17% of the world’s population but experts say it is particularly vulnerable to climate change as it less able to adapt. African nations hope to use the funds to improve their resilience to extreme weather events, such as droughts or floods, increase tree cover and protect biodiversity, as well as expand their renewable energy capacity.

The summit comes just weeks after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that rich countries had failed to deliver on their 2009 promise to spend $100 billion a year to aid developing countries to adapt to a warming climate. The organization said $83.3 billion was given to poorer nations in 2020, the highest ever sum, but still short of the original amount.

If the funds promised at the Rotterdam summit are delivered, the decades-old goal will finally be achieved but African nations warn this will not be enough.

“Africa does not have the resources to tackle climate change,” Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, told the summit. “The continent only receives 3% of the total climate financing.”

Africa will need between $1.3 and $1.6 trillion this decade to implement its commitments to the Paris climate agreement, an annual cost between $140 and $300 billion, Adesina said. He added that the costs of adapting to climate change are expected to increase by 2050, as the effects of global warming get more severe.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Addo said his country will push for the funds allocated to adapting to a warmer climate to be doubled at the forthcoming United Nations summit in Egypt in November.

After decades of developed countries falling short on their funding promises, many African nations remain skeptical that the funds will ever reach the continent.

The U.N. Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt, Mahmoud Mohieldin, said the existing global climate financing structure is “insufficient and ineffective,” especially for Africa.

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