Climate change affects lives each day around the globe. From summer heat waves to drastic floods, it touches the wealthiest individuals living in modern cities and the poorest in developing countries. The effects of climate change can reach far beyond the expected ecosystems, economic sectors and populations.
I wouldn’t miss the United Nations conference on climate change that begins Monday in Paris, even though it’s the event’s 21st birthday and there’s little to toast from past events.
Why is COP21 a must-attend confab for me? This is the first time that climate adaptation will be on the table for discussion. That’s a big deal. Adapting to climate vagaries – think of ocean ports raising sea barriers and drought-tolerant crops being planted in the world’s expanding arid regions – is more important than ever. Adaptation must rise to the top of the climate agenda, ignited by the 6.5 million people displaced in Syria’s drought-driven civil conflict and the 7,000 who died in the superstorm Typhoon Yolanda that hit the Philippines.
The Grave Omission of COPs
So we’re in solidarity with those who will be in Paris to work to decrease global climate emissions. And we are focusing our resources on preventing the avoidable and preparing for the unpreventable in the face of climate change. What’s been the grave omission in the COPs of the past decade are agreements on adaptation commitments. Meanwhile, insurers such as Swiss Re report how weather-related catastrophes are mounting and every year we don’t adapt, more lives are lost.