Investing $1.8 trillion in climate adaptation could yield $7.1 trillion
A new report argues that we stand to gain a lot economically by investing in 5 key areas.
- The Global Commission on Adaptation, an organization led by Ban Ki-Moon, Bill Gates, and Kristalina Georgieva, breaks down the costs and benefits of investing in five key areas for climate adaptation.
- Whereas climate mitigation focuses on reducing future greenhouse gas emissions, climate adaptation focuses on how to deal with the changing world that climate change will bring.
- Both mitigation and adaptation projects are commonly criticized as being too expensive, but the new report underscores the quantitative benefits that could be realized.
The conversation around climate change has mostly focused on how we can best cut emissions, often referred to as climate mitigation. Significant sums have been invested by governments and private organizations into climate mitigation, which is — emphatically — a good thing. However, mitigation is just one side of the coin. Climate change experts also emphasize the need to invest in adaptive strategies that will help us deal with the world that our current emissions are already in the process of forming.
A recently published report by the Global Commission on Adaptation, an international organization led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Bill Gates, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, focuses on the need for and potential nature of climate change adaptation. The report doesn't pull any punches: It asserts that climate change will reduce agricultural yields by 30 percent, deprive 5 billion people of sufficient water, cause $1 trillion in damages to coastal urban areas, and push 100 million people below the poverty line by 2050 or sooner.
Importantly, the report isn't just a forecast of doom and gloom. If unprecedented action is taken by investing $1.8 trillion in climate adaptation between 2020 and 2030, the world could realize $7.1 trillion in total net benefits. Specifically, the report calls for investment into five key areas: early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, mangrove protection, improved dryland agriculture, and water resources. These areas produce what the report calls a "triple dividend"; that is, they have value in terms of the losses they avoid and the economic and social/environmental benefits they provide.
5 key areas
The benefit-cost ratios and net benefits of investing in five key areas between 2020 and 2030. Not that the total does not add up due to rounding.
Global Commission on Adaptation.
Early warning systems, for instance, primarily derive value based off the damage they prevent. According to the report, just 24 hours of advanced warning for a severe storm or heat wave can cut the damage by 30 percent, and spending $800 million per year on such systems could avoid losses of up to $16 billion per year. For example, after cyclone Bhola killed 300,000 in Bangladesh, the country implemented a variety of early warning systems. Due in part to these systems, 2019's cyclone Fani killed just five individuals in Bangladesh.
Investing in climate-resilient infrastructure would tack on an additional three percent cost to infrastructure projects but would yield benefits at a rate of four to one. This is particularly crucial to get started on straightaway, since infrastructure can't typically be constructed quickly.
It might seem surprising, but the report found that investing in mangrove protection would be a powerful tool for climate adaptation. Not only do mangrove forest protect coastal communities (a service worth about $80 billion), they also provide habitats for fish, forestry, and recreational benefits worth up to $50 billion.
Global food demand is projected to grow by 50 percent by 2050, so investing in dryland agriculture is something of a no-brainer, especially since the agricultural industry is itself a significant source of greenhouse gases. As climate change reduces the world's arable land, it will both increase the price of food and push so-called smallholder farms out of the agricultural industry, exacerbating global poverty. Smallholder farms produce roughly a third of the world's food as well, meaning that this group is a crucial part of the global food supply chain. The report mainly focuses on how to protect these small farmers, such as in research into drought-tolerant varieties of maize, wheat, and rice; greater technical capabilities; insurance programs; and more.
As the planet continues to warm, we'll also need to protect our water resources. The report warns that countries that do not make an investment in their water resources will be far less likely to survive and thrive in the future than those that do. Many solutions to protecting water resources also have the added benefit of preserving the environment; programs such as the Great Green Wall Initiative in Africa or Mexico's protection of wetlands help to regulate the water supply and serve as critical ecosystems and carbon sinks.
A common criticism of climate change mitigation and adaptation proposals is that they are too expensive. Consider, for instance, the many criticisms of the Green New Deal. Nobody expects that the wholesale transformation of huge swathes of the global economy will be a cheap endeavor. The question, however, is whether this costly investment will ultimately be worth it. Because this issue has become regrettably politicized, it is tempting to fall back on correspondingly liberal or conservative gut-based estimates of the possible return. This recent report offers a cooler-headed, quantitative view of exactly how much we stand to lose from inaction, and how much we stand to gain.
You can read the full report here.
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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