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Report says Rich Must Invest More in Climate Adaptation

A report published Wednesday says developed nations are not fulfilling the financial promises they made at a United Nations conference last year aimed at helping poor countries deal with climate change.

At a U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen last year, rich countries promised to pay $30 billion between 2010 and 2012 to help poor countries deal with climate change. Half of that sum was to go towards mitigation, or cutting back on greenhouse emissions; and the other with coping with climate change.

But research from the Institute for Environment and Development, or IIED, says only $3 billion of that amount has been allocated to adapting to climate change.

Saleemul Huq from ICED says helping people cope with the effects of climate change is key for some of the world's poorest countries.

"It's important for the more vulnerable developing countries who number more than 100, for them to deal with the impacts of climate change," said Huq. "The mitigation activities and funding goes mainly to a handful of large developing countries like India, China, Brazil, so for the more poor vulnerable developing countries, the adaptation funds are what matter for them."

He says it's important that rich countries don't only focus on mitigation, or cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions.

"They see mitigation as being the major stumbling block in the activities that need to take place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which I don't have any problem with but they also have to recognize that for many poor and vulnerable developing countries particularly in Africa and Asia and some parts of Latin America, the impacts of climate change are already happening and they are going to have to deal with them," he said.

Bruce Campbell is director of the Challenge Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. He says proper funding for adaptation is crucial for agriculture, which has already been effected by climate change.

"The projections indicate that some 80 percent of the current land area where there's agriculture is going to be worse off in the future in terms of rising temperatures and different rainfall patterns, more extreme rainfall events so you can imagine if we already have an unacceptable poverty situation in Africa if you now imagine worsening conditions for agriculture in 80 percent of the landmass in Africa, then you are in real trouble," he said.

A major U.N. climate change summit following last year's event in Copenhagen is set to take place in Cancun, Mexico only two weeks from now.