As the world’s largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases—and with one of the highest levels of per capita emissions—the United States has a responsibility to help the least developed countries face the threats brought on by global warming. And providing financial assistance for these countries to use in adapting to global warming’s effects would be a responsible and sensible course of action that would also promote stability and prosperity abroad.
In the rapidly unfolding debate of international climate policy, “adaptation” refers to the ability of communities to prepare for and respond to the consequences of climate change. Adaptation is one of the four priorities of international climate negotiations, in addition to mitigation (reducing global warming pollution), clean technology transfer, and finance.
The United States should commit to providing financial assistance to these vulnerable countries. Accepting this responsibility will require modernizing our existing overseas development aid in order to improve global resilience to climate impacts. But committing to international adaptation will prove to be a sensible and prudent long-term investment.
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