Cost Effective Adaptation


Combatting extreme weather need not be costly. In fact, adopting a deliberate sustainability approach towards measures taken to build resilience against extreme weather can generate a variety of co-benefits for a small additional cost. Relevant initiatives range from investments in public transport and renewable energy generation to creating city parks or developing coastal wetlands, which would also protect fresh water resources. What ties all of these components together is the wealth of potential benefits that could result, including better cityscapes, increased biodiversity and reduced public health expenses.

A recent study estimates that between now and 2030, investments in urban, energy and land use systems will amount to 90 trillion dollars. Adding just 0.5 percent to this figure could turn this expense into an agent of active change towards a more efficient and sustainable economy. Moreover, the extra cost can often be offset by the energy savings and other benefits that result from putting societies on a more sustainable trajectory. A notable example of this is the positive health effects that result from measures to reduce traffic, which consequently lowers air pollution.

These initiatives often lead to immediately felt positive impacts on the people affected. Ultimately, adopting an investment strategy for extreme weather adaptation that prioritizes cost-effective initiatives with a mitigation aspect could yield rapidly felt co-benefits. This could also build both public and political support for investing in sustainability in the longer run.

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