Mitigation is the Best Adaptation
“Mitigation is the best adaptation.”Quamrul Chowdhury, Adaptation Expert and Lead Negotiator for the Least Developed Countries
The Hunger Stones resurfaced last month along central European rivers. These river boulders are carved with inscriptions that memorialize years of suffering, famine, and economic distress from past droughts. One prophetic writing from 1616 translates, “If you see me, weep.”
If this story sounds familiar, it’s because the stones have been revealing themselves in Europe’s dry riverbeds over the last several years. This year’s drought, exacerbated by climate change, could be the worst in 500 years.
Risks must be evaluated differently as we develop robust and resilient communities. But adaptation has limits, especially in developing nations. Africa Climate Week (Aug 29-Sep 2), highlighted the debt crises of African nations and the shortfall in climate finance between what has been pledged by the wealthy nations and what has been mobilized in Africa.
And not just in Europe, rivers in China are also drying up due to heat and drought. One-third of Pakistan, a country that contributes about one percent to global GHG, has been under water from a monsoon season 190% above average.
Adaptation will be a key priority at COP 27 this November. Finance will be central in that discussion. Finance is needed for energy transitions and sustainable infrastructure projects via public-private partnerships. These projects must be structured not to pile on more debt burdens, but to place Africa and other LDCs as partners in building their sustainable economies.