Photo by Abhishek Purohit Raahgir is licensed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.
Choose to Invest F.Y. 2024
Climate change is an existential threat that has already negatively impacted much of the world.
Climate change is an existential threat that has already impacted much of the world. From powerful storms in the U.S. Midwest to prolonged drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, the adverse effects of climate change are widely felt around the globe.
Climate change is not an isolated threat. Worsening weather events and phenomena, including recurring droughts, increased flooding, and sea level rise, are leading to human suffering, food and water insecurity, migration, and biodiversity loss. Decades-long progress in development, public health, and conflict reduction could potentially be lost.
Reports suggest that failure to mitigate and adapt to climate change could cost the global economy $178 trillion over the next 50 years if temperatures continue increasing at the current rate, with developing economies experiencing the largest losses. In 2021, the U.S. alone experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters.
As geopolitical tensions grow, climate change acts as a force multiplier for instability worldwide, threatening national security interests here at home. Extreme weather across the U.S. and other countries not only disrupts supply chains and food prices but also stretches the capacity of local, state, and national governments to respond adequately to constant and emerging threats.
In November 2022, leaders from across the world convened in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the 27th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27). This year’s conference focused on implementation and adaptation, and it showed that countries came up short on implementing key initiatives from past conferences. World leaders failed to deliver stronger mitigation assurances aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions enough to prevent average global temperatures from increasing more than 1.5℃ (equivalent to 2.7ºF) above pre-industrial levels. Developed nations also failed to deliver on the $100 billion international climate finance commitment for developing countries. However, the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan does agree to create a loss and damage fund for the most vulnerable states.
The U.S. also reaffirmed its commitment to its leadership role in tackling the climate crisis by highlighting domestic climate action wins, including the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, and the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, among others.
To date, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has partnered with more than 45 countries to implement ambitious climate programming, such as resiliency building and adaptation, food and nutrition security, and water resource management. Integrating climate investment into the broader development process encourages cross-sector collaboration and results in a more whole-of-government response.
The time for action is now. Continued U.S. leadership at home and abroad is critical to a holistic and cooperative international climate response that addresses adaptation, clean energy, and biodiversity while protecting people, animals, and our planet.
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