Someone’s PR folk mailed me CARE and climate change Into Unknown Territory: The limits to adaptation and reality of loss and damage from climate impacts, and the report itself. You know what its like: the first big pic is a poor person with a baby in a dry landscape with a dead cow skeleton; the next is a poor person up to her neck in water (although… there are some green shoots in the dry landscape, and green on the horizon. Never mind; you see what they are aiming at).
But I didn’t get far before the language became odd: The World Bank estimates that even in a 2°C world, adaptation costs for developing countries will amount to a minimum of US$70 billion by 2020 and to up to 100 billion a year by 2050. What does that mean? What is a “2 oC world”? One in which GW has reached +2 oC by 2050? One in which the trajectory is to +2 by 2100, say, and we’ve got half way there by 2050? +2 above pre-industrial, or present? I don’t know. And I couldn’t be bothered to read in enough detail to find out if they ever resolve this mystery. There is far too much dodgy language in there to make it worth shredding; where they get +6 oC (on page 6) from I don’t know. Or why (same page) they think China is going to overtake the US in per capita emissions by 2017.
However, their ref for the world bank is The Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change (EACC) study which was a bit interesting, and contained this figure:
Look closely: the costs are mostly ~0.1% of GDP (except sub-Saharan Africa, which is very poor). More importantly: notice that the cost of adaption, as a percentage of GDP, goes down over time, not up. This is because the countries are growing, economically, faster than damages [*] are increasing in absolute terms.
Well, I’m sure you see the point.
[*] RJ, in the comments, eventually makes me understand that I’ve mis-spoked here. I mean “costs”, as in costs of adaption, not damages. And as we end up agreeing in the comments, the costs of adaption should be less than the damages (else why bother).