Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, entrepreneur Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank, will chair the newly establisshed Global Commission on Adaptation.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on October 23, 2018

The group will also feature a number of prominent world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina.

They have been tasked with submitting a report to a Climate Change summit scheduled for September 2019 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to mark the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement.

The group’s formation comes shortly after an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warning that widespread environmental degradation will ensue if drastic steps are not taken to halt climate change.

“Adaptation is a global challenge; it requires coordination across boundaries,” Ban said in an interview about the new commission.

“Climate impacts in one country can have knock-on effects on the other side of the world. Therefore, nations need to learn from one another.”

The group has argued that switching to more environmentally friendly business practices will cost less than a ‘business as usual’ approach in the long term.

Bill Gates: greenhouse gas emissions have placed the world “at a moment of high risk”

In the commission’s first press statement since being formed, Bill Gates said the world was “at a moment of high risk and great promise”.

“We need policies to help vulnerable populations adapt and we need to ensure that governments and other stakeholders are supporting innovation and helping deliver those breakthroughs to the people and places that need them most.

Gates called for international co-operation on reducing carbon emissions and facilitating access to affordable energy. He said these measures would enable farmers to be more productive.

Writing on his blog Gates Notes, the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist wrote that wind and solar power are useful inventions but can only assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions arising from the production of electricity. Making electricity only produces around 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions, just ahead of agriculture (24%) and manufacturing (21%).

With this in mind, Gates writes that society needs to radically rethink efforts to cut greenhouse gas emission across every industry.

Priorities for the Global Commission on Adaptation

The commission will have a particular focus on the impact of climate change in developing countries. Georgieva said that millions of people in poorer nations were already impacted by climate change.

“It is a cruel irony that those who have least contributed to climate change are the ones who are affected and least able to prepare,” she said.

The commission has articulated seven areas it will concentrate on, namely:

  • Climate-resilient food and rural livelihood security
  • Resilient cities
  • Ecosystem-based solutions
  • Adaptation finance
  • Resilient global supply chains
  • Climate resilient infrastructure
  • Climate-resilient social protection