About the guest view, “Support Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Plan On Earth Day”:
With increasing populations at risk, it is now more important than ever that we help the poor adapt to climate change as it occurs — Africans suffering from drought, Inuit affected by permafrost melt, etc.
But aid agencies are unable to adequately support these vulnerable people. Overconfidence about our ability to forecast and even control future climate states has encouraged governments to dedicate most of the public money spent on climate finance to mitigation, trying to affect events that may, or may not, someday happen. The San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative demonstrated that, in 2014, 83 percent of all public climate finance went to mitigation, with only 17 percent going to adaption.
When you count funds spent by private enterprise in the total, 94 percent of the over $1 billion spent worldwide every day on climate finance is dedicated to mitigation, leaving a relatively trivial 6 percent to help people today.
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One of the reasons for this imbalance is that mitigation projects are far more profitable for large corporations than are the smaller scale boots-on-the-ground strategies needed to help populations adapt.
By focusing their activism on mitigation, groups such as Citizens’ Climate Lobby unwittingly encourage a continuation of this travesty.
Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. (Mech.), executive director, International Climate Science Coalition, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada