Tim Palmer believes the UK should help with climate adaptation efforts in the developing world. Susan Roaf makes a case for climate-ready buildings
Theresa May’s initiative to decarbonise the UK economy by 2050 has been estimated to cost £50bn per year (theguardian.com, 6 June). It is hoped that by taking leadership in this way, others will follow. However, the world’s emissions are already changing the Earth’s climate, and such changes will only get larger as emissions of greenhouse gases continue.
As an example, Namibia is being forced by one of its most intense droughts on record to raise $1m by auctioning off some of its wildlife. This shouldn’t be necessary. If the UK were to give just 1% of this £50bn per year to help climate adaptation efforts in the developing world – for example, supporting investment in solar-powered desalination infrastructure in drought-prone countries – this would send a powerful signal that it is taking seriously not only its future emissions but also its responsibilities for past and ongoing emissions.
Royal Society research professor in climate physics, University of Oxford