Bill Gates spent five years warning the world that we were not prepared for a pandemic, but no one listened to him. On the contrary, when what he had anticipated came along, the conspirators used his 2015 Ted Talk as proof that he knew and therefore should have made it. Will the same thing happen with the next climate change catastrophes?
The Adaptation Summit organized by the Netherlands this week tries to organize the world to take action before new calamities arrive. The snowfalls of New York in Madrid do not have to return to catch the City Hall without salt and the citizens without shovels. Sub-Saharan Africa can now plan which crops will survive when temperatures rise two degrees Celsius. East African countries must prepare for the torrential rains that will trigger malaria and flood the countries of the north. Russia, where 73% of the population lives in cities, has to calculate geological hazards and landslides. Turkey, flooding on its border with Bulgaria. Holland, the overflows of its channels. Spain, desertification that will kill 80% of current crops and trigger fires.
Norway stands out as the best prepared, followed by France with its plan against the heat and Portugal
Adaptation has to start now. The problem, as activist Greta Thunberg recalls, “is that we are not treating the climate change crisis as a crisis.” His generation is in our hands. In the preamble to the summit, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, who chairs the Global Center for Adaptation, with the help of Bill and Melinda Gates, apologized to young people from 115 countries on Friday for the harm done. . “You are the first generation that has never known a world without global warming. My generation has a moral obligation to give you the space and the means to succeed where we have failed.
His commitment to them is to present today to the leaders of the world who attend the virtual two-day summit the declaration that the young people have produced. He will be heard, among others, by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel; the French President, Emmanuel Macron; the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson; that of India, Narendra Modi; and many others, among which it is not yet known if the newly inaugurated US president, Joe Biden, will be.
There the first report on Adaptation will be presented, in which, this is not surprising, Norway stands out as the best prepared. But also France, with its heat tax and the Canicula Plan, has made progress since a 2003 heat wave killed 15,000 people. Or Portugal preparing for the fires.
“But the recovery cannot be only for the developed countries”, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, thinks to tell them, who does not speak in the future but in the past. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the climate has already caused more than 11,000 disasters and in the last decade alone it has killed 410,000 people, the vast majority in low- or middle-income countries. “We need trillions of dollars to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and start the low-carbon, high-resilience future we need.” That future of action begins this Monday with this summit, which is just a drop in the ocean.