According to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), climate adaptation progress is slowing when it should be speeding up in order to catch up with the increasing impacts and risks of climate change.

The report, “Underfinanced. Underprepared. Inadequate investment and planning on climate adaptation leaves world exposed,” released before the UN COP28 Climate Change Conference later this month in Dubai, found that the adaptation finance requirements of developing countries are much larger — 10 to 18 times — than the actual amount of public finance.

“Today’s Adaptation Gap Report shows a growing divide between need and action when it comes to protecting people from climate extremes. Action to protect people and nature is more pressing than ever. Lives and livelihoods are being lost and destroyed, with the vulnerable suffering the most,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his message on the report.

Due to the growing needs for adaptation financing, along with inadequate flow, currently the adaptation gap is from $194 to $366 billion annually, a press release from the UN said. Meanwhile, planning and implementation for adaptation seem to be leveling off. Adaptation failure has huge implications for loss and damage, especially for the most vulnerable.

“In 2023, climate change yet again became more disruptive and deadly: temperature records toppled, while storms, floodsheatwaves and wildfires caused devastation,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP’s executive director, in the press release. “These intensifying impacts tell us that the world must urgently cut greenhouse gas emissions and increase adaptation efforts to protect vulnerable populations. Neither is happening.”

The updated report found that more funds are required for adaptation in developing countries this decade, from $215 billion to $387 billion.

“Even if the international community were to stop emitting all greenhouse gases today, climate disruption would take decades to dissipate,” Andersen said in the press release. “So, I urge policymakers to take heed of the Adaptation Gap Report, step up finance and make COP28 the moment that the world committed fully to insulating low-income countries and disadvantaged groups from damaging climate impacts.”

Read the full article about climate action by Cristen Hemingway Jaynes at EcoWatch.