The benefits of advancing the energy transition and other climate action in African countries will only be felt after 2040 due to the time-lag between changing greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature response, warns a report from the Netherlands-based Global Center on Adaptation. This is why countries must urgently focus on scaling up adaptation, it says.

Destruction in Maxixe, Mozambique, following tropical cyclone Dineo in 2017. (Photo by Tonis Valing via Shutterstock)

The level of climate change in Africa in the next 20 years is already locked in, the report states, and these impacts can only be reduced with adaptation.

The report identifies benefit-to-cost ratios greater than 2:1 for almost all adaptation projects. These ratios compare the economic benefits of a project to its capital, operating and maintenance costs over time.

For weather and climate information services, the benefit-to-cost ratio ranges from 4:1 to 25:1, the report states. For example, an early warning system for floods could help local governments take action to protect renewable energy assets, but only 30% of African countries have such warning systems in place.

Climate adaptation finance is scaling too slowly to build climate resilience, the report concludes, calling for more support from governments, multilateral development banks, pension funds and other sources.