As hundreds of thousands of people of all ages join in the global #climatestrike, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations has published The Cost of Doing Nothing, a report on the humanitarian impact of climate change.
This is just the latest in a swag of reports and studies on climate change which some of us have been reading since the Limits to Growth report back in the 70s.
The new report states:
“By 2050, 200 million people every year could need international humanitarian aid as a result of a cruel combination of climate-related disasters and the socioeconomic impact of climate change. This is nearly twice the estimated 108 million people who need help today from the international humanitarian system because of floods, storms, droughts and wildfires.”
Data and analysis in the Red Cross report updates material highlighted in the excellent 2016 World Bank report Shockwaves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty.
The Red Cross call to action is compelling:
“Adaptation and disaster risk reduction need to be mainstreamed into broader development efforts. While adaptation has been on the international political agenda for over 20 years, this has not yet led to the transformative actions needed in a world in the grip of rapid and potentially destructive climate change. This is partly because adaptation is usually addressed as a standalone priority, delivered by dedicated and often siloed departments and organizations. This needs to change. Climate adaptation must become a central part of all disaster risk reduction, development and humanitarian efforts, and be integrated into legal, policy, planning and regulatory frameworks.” (Emphasis added)
In conventional risk management parlance, the cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of prevention and adaptation, and so the only rational and reasonable response is to implement our climate crisis action plan without delay.