Photo By: Guillermo Munoz is licensed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.
Choose to Invest F.Y. 2023
Climate change is an existential threat that has already negatively impacted much of the world.
Climate change is an existential threat that has already negatively impacted much of the world. From more powerful forest fires in California to increased flooding frequency in Southeast Asia to rapidly rising temperatures near our poles, the negative effects of climate change are already widely felt around the globe.
In early November 2021, leaders from across the world convened in Glasgow for the 26thU.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). Urging a more collective effort to address climate change, nations agreed on provisions concerning more ambitious targets and transparent reporting of carbon emissions reductions, phase-down of unabated coal power, and international carbon credit trading rules. Additionally, some nations announced important pledges regarding methane emission reductions, stopping and reversing deforestation, and increased diplomatic cooperation for climate action. The United States reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris Agreement through ambitious commitments and a White House initiative to deal with the climate crisis and strengthen U.S. climate ambition.
Climate change is not an isolated threat. Climate-induced weather events and phenomena, including recurring droughts, increased flooding and sea level rise, are already leading to climate-induced migration, loss of biodiversity, food and water insecurity, heat-related deaths, and impacts to vulnerable children, among other consequences. This threatens decades-long progress in development, public health, conflict reduction, and justice. Furthermore, responding to climate-induced events and phenomena is costly. The annual cost of climate adaptation measures in developing countries is estimated to be approximately $70 billion and is expected to reach $280-500 billion by 2050.
By 2050, new reports suggest that the global economy could lose 10% of its value if temperatures continue increasing at the current rate. Without significant action, the United States stands to lose between 1-3% of its GDP annually due to climate change. Similarly, as geopolitical tensions grow between nations, climate change is acting as a force multiplier for instability around the world, threatening national security interests here at home. Extreme weather across the country not only disrupts supply chains and food prices, it stretches the capacity of local, state, and national governments to respond adequately to constant and emerging threats.
To date, USAID has partnered with more than 45 countries to implement ambitious climate programming, such as resiliency building, food and nutrition security, and water resource management. Integrating climate investment in the broader development process encourages cross-sector collaboration and results in a more whole-of-government response.
The time for bold action is now. To confront climate change head on and protect our environment, the United States must lead in developing a more holistic and cooperative effort around the world.
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