kelly de bruin webWe have a chat with CERE's climate researcher Kelly de Bruin who co-authored the acclaimed UN report "African Adaptation Gap Report" that came out in November 2013 and the subsequent report "Loss and Damage in Africa" . The aforementioned report explained what happens if the global warming reaches 3,5-4 degrees warmer than now, how Africa by the year 2070 would have an annual expenditure of 350 billion dollars for climate adaptation. Recently another report; "Adaptation Gap Report" was developed in time for the COP20 in Lima December 2014. It took all the developing countries into consideration and it was reported worldwide. 

Illustration: Mona Bonta BergmanMore realistic with 4 degrees

Everything started with a report about an emission gap. The measures presently being discussed amongst policy makers equals an increase in temperature by four degrees and not the desired two. So the question became; what does this entail for climate adaptation? The UNEP commenced the search for an expert on climate adaptation and came across Kelly's earlier work. Kelly has, for some duration, been working on a model that she calls AD-RICE (ADaptation Regional, Integrated, Climate, Economy). It takes a closer look on how the economy affects the climate change and vice versa. The unique thing about Kelly's model is that it also includes climate adaptation. By calculating the price for adaptation, they hoped to enlighten people to the severity of the problem for Africa, a continent highly sensitive to climate change impacts.

150 billions less with two degrees

"African Adaptation Gap Report" was published in November 2013 and was covered by media all over the world. If the two degrees target can be reached, then the cost for Africa's climate adaptation would be 150 billion less in the year 2070. But in 2020 the sum would already be between 7-15 billion dollars and increase substantially as the global warming and its effects escalates. The report was followed up by another UN-report, "Loss and Damage in Africa", that Kelly and her model were involved in. This report talks about the damages the climate changes will have on Africa.

Climate changes year 2060 only the tip of the iceberg

The AD-RICE model was also used in the OECD project "the circle project". There they try to look further into the future to find the effects climate changes will have. – Now the OECD model only covers up to the year 2060, but what happens after that? We cannot se the full effect when we only look until 2060. The problems 2060 are ridiculously small compared with the ones in 2100 and 2200. In 2100 we can expect 2-3 times the problems, and double that another 100 years later, says Kelly. We can expect harsh blows to the population with extreme heat waves that becomes regular summer days. Floods in the coastal areas will threaten important cultural and historic places and the coral reefs will be but a memory. The report tells us that reefs will in fact disappear long before we reach 4 degrees, acidified and warmer oceans will strike hard against the oceans eco system.

The Price tag: $650 billions 2050

The latest report, from December 2014, lets us know that if we do not get our act together with our environmental work, we will get a world 4 degrees warmer with adaptations cost on 0,8 % of GDP for all developing countries. That correlates to $650 billion dollars (in 2005 years rate). If we were to reach our 2 degrees goal, it would mean 0,4% and $350 billion dollars. But we can forget a world with only 2 degrees increase says Kelly. We've already failed that.


Kelly grew up in South Africa but resides in Umeå since 2010. She works for CERE, Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics, a collaboration between Economics at Umeå University and forest economics from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.


African Adaptation Gap Report 
Arbetsrapport om AD-RICE
Loss and Damage in Africa 
The Adaptation Gap Report, a Preliminary Assessment
Read what different medias say about the latest report 
Bloomberg BNA  
The Guardian 
The Indian Express
International Business Times 

Coming events

Show Full Calendar