This is the final installment of WRI’s blog series, Adaptation and the Private Sector. Each post explores ways to engage the private sector in helping vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Adaptation and the Private Sector
As the impacts of climate change become ever-clearer, so does the challenge of adaptation. While the World Bank estimates that developing countries will need $70-$100 billion annually through 2050 to adapt to climate change, the public sector alone cannot meet this financial goal. Rather, the world needs the human, technical, and financial resources of the private sector to help bridge this significant adaptation finance gap and make vulnerable communities more climate-resilient.
National governments have a critical role to play in supporting and stimulating private sector investment in adaptation. In order to engage the private sector in helping vulnerable populations prepare for the effects of climate change, developing country governments can take three types of actions:
In most developing economies, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) employ up to 78 percent of the population and account for approximately 29 percent of the national GDP. Their presence in communities throughout the world– big and small, rural and urban – allows them to get products and services to hard-to-reach populations. This market concentration and high level of employment means MSMEs are in a good position to contribute to making vulnerable populations more climate-resilient.
But while MSMEs can assist in helping vulnerable households adapt to climate change, they are also extremely vulnerable to the impacts of a warmer world, such as intensification of precipitation and shifts in water availability. It’s important that MSMEs overcome these challenges and capitalize on their unique business opportunities in ways that help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change.
Multinational companies (MNCs) typically have operations and supply chains in many parts of the world. The way they respond to climate change, therefore, can affect many populations, including poor communities in developing countries, where many people are especially vulnerable to heat waves, sea level rise, and other climate change impacts. MNCs sometimes find themselves in tension with local groups and the environment, but they can also play an important role in making these communities more climate-resilient.
Here are three ways that MNCs can contribute to climate change adaptation in developing countries:
Adapting to the impacts of climate change—like heat waves, increased floods, and natural disasters—is an enormous challenge. It’s also one that comes with an enormous price tag. Although it’s difficult to calculate the extent of the costs, the World Bank estimates that developing countries need $70 to $100 billion USD per year through 2050 to meet their current and future climate adaptation needs.
The Climate Policy Initiative, however, estimates that in 2011, only $4.4 billion USD in adaptation finance went to developing countries. This leaves a gap of anywhere from $65.6 to $95.6 billion USD per year between what developing countries need and what developed nations are giving.
So who can help fill this gap?