“We have to adjust our way of living”

27 January 2021

It is one “half of the climate equation”, as UN Secretary-General António Guterres put it: while the world is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming, we must at the same time adapt to the climate change that is already happening.

This ambition brought more than 30 world leaders and over 18,000 registered participants to the Climate Adaptation Summit, an online conference on Monday and Tuesday this week, hosted by the Netherlands.

“Support for adaptation and resilience is a moral, economic and social imperative,” Guterres said in a live statement at the summit. He called for 50 per cent of climate finance to be allocated to this purpose.

Guterres and Ban Ki-moon at the summit

The summit gathered heads of governments from around the globe, including European leaders like France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Great Britain’s Boris Johnson, and host Mark Rutte from the Netherlands, along with representatives from the International Monetary Fund IMF and the World Bank. They committed to significantly raising adaptation finance and supporting policies that strengthen the response to climate change.

Help for thousand cities

Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of host city Rotterdam, announced the ‘1000 Cities Adapt Now’ programme which will be helping thousand cities adapt to climate change over the next ten years.

“The warmest year ever, the driest month, the most precipitation in one day; weather records continue to be broken,” Aboutaleb said. “We have to adjust our way of living and adapt our economies to new, more extreme conditions. As leaders of cities, mayors know that both tackling climate change and accelerating global action on climate adaptation are vital for the future of our cities. Corona forces us to choose a green recovery out of this pandemic as well.”

More about the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 here

Photos © Martijn Beekman