London, August 28 (ANI): A new study has determined that the global cost of adapting to climate change has been grossly underestimated, and it could be much greater than expected.
According to a report in Nature News, although it doesn't provide concrete new estimates, the report suggests that the total cost of adapting to climate change could be at least 2-3 times more than the previous estimate from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
That figure, published in 2007, suggested that the annual cost from 2030 would be between 49 billion dollars and 171 billion dollars.
The main difference, according to the study, is that the UN number did not account for climate change's effects on key sectors such as energy, manufacturing, tourism and natural ecosystems.
"The UNFCCC's estimations were made in a few weeks and weren't independently reviewed," said the study's lead author, Martin Parry, a visiting research fellow at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London and a former co-chair of a working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The UNFCCC numbers were initially intended to come from a literature review of other economic studies, according to Sudhir Sharma, manager of financial cooperation and capacity building at the UNFCCC secretariat in Bonn, Germany.
But the team working on the estimates soon realized that there were massive gaps in the information needed.
The cost of adapting to climate change requires knowledge about what effects climate change will have, what the options are for responding to those changes, and how much those options will cost, according to Sharma.
Sharma argues his group's estimates weren't intended to be the final word, but rather a ball-park figure to get the negotiations rolling.
"We clearly indicated that this was not an exhaustive study," he said. "Our objective was to kick-start the process of putting numbers on the cost of adaptation so that other groups could pick up the baton and refine them," he added.
The latest study, published by the IIED and the Grantham Institute, has picked up that baton.
It suggests that the UNFCCC estimate of 11 billion dollars per year for adapting to changes in water supply overlooks the expenses of floods and of transporting water from areas of plenty to areas to that need it.
But although the report says previous estimates for adaptation are too low, it doesn't provide numbers, he admits.
"We didn't try to come up with new numbers - we pointed out the gaps," said Sharma. (ANI)