Stand with those most at risk in combating climate change

Eleanor in kenya
Mercy Corps works with farmers like Eleanor in Kenya to introduce new practices and technologies that boost their crop productivity in the face of climate change.

Though the world’s attention is on the response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot afford to take our eyes off of the unfolding climate crisis. Just like the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change is a destabilizer and a threat multiplier. Current estimates predict, between 2030 and 2050, an additional 250,000 people will be killed each year by climate-driven malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. At the same time, clean air, safe drinking water, and sufficient food supply will become further jeopardized, amplifying existing vulnerabilities to peoples’ livelihoods and lives.

While we are all affected by climate change, people in the poorest countries are under the biggest threat: disproportionately exposed to extreme weather events, more reliant on natural resources, and least able to cope with negative environmental impacts. Right now, nearly half the world’s population is estimated to be highly vulnerable to climate disasters, but not yet equipped to adapt. Left unaddressed, nearly 200 million people could require international humanitarian assistance for climate-related disasters by 2050, roughly double the number of those in need due to climate shocks today.

We’re working together with Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration to take bold, urgent action to combat the threat of climate change and prioritize support for countries at risk on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

Strong U.S. commitments to help vulnerable countries adapt sends a message about the importance of addressing the changing climate and its impacts. Through innovative programs like climate resilient agriculture and diversifying economic opportunities that reduce communities’ climate and disaster risks, we can reduce the climate drivers of conflict and violence and reshape humanity’s ability to adapt for a more resilient future.

Take action: Ask your representative to fund climate adaptation and technical assistance, working together to ensure those most at risk are better equipped to face the destructive effects of climate change.

Here is the letter we’ll send to Congress on your behalf:

Dear Member of Congress,

As your constituent, I’m deeply concerned about the impact of climate shocks on our world, especially in poor and fragile countries facing compounded challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the United Nations, the world will require between $140 billion and $300 billion a year by 2030 to adapt to climate change. Yet, global climate adaptation finance only totaled $30 billion annually in 2017/2018 — just 5% of overall climate finance needs — falling well short of what is required globally, particularly in fragile and developing countries. To help protect vulnerable communities and the rest of the world from the risks of climate change, I ask you to prioritize $265.5 million in funding for climate adaptation through the State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill and strengthen climate risk programs at USAID.

Climate change affects everyone, but people living in the poorest communities worldwide are the most vulnerable to disasters like drought, flooding and hurricanes. As destabilizing climate events become more frequent, these communities face life-changing, and sometimes deadly, consequences to their livelihoods — with little preparation and support as climate and weather-related crises intensify.

Getting ahead of climate crises by acting early saves lives, reduces suffering, and cuts costs. Climate adaptation funding and technical expertise support these efforts with sustainable agriculture to reduce food insecurity, technologies for early warning and disaster prevention, and nature-based solutions to stop storm surges in coastal communities. These prevention efforts stave off longer-term costs of natural disaster recovery and climate displacement, ensuring vulnerable communities are reached with solutions that make them more resilient to changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and increasingly extreme weather events associated with climate change.

Substantially increasing commitments in climate adaptation funding and USAID’s climate risk operations are long-term investments that strengthen communities. By alleviating climate-driven hunger, loss of livelihoods, and preparing communities for worsening disasters, we can help prevent conflict, crises, and create innovative business opportunities.

I urge you to ensure that the United States continues to combat climate change globally, and ask that as my representative you take action to address these concerns, starting with appropriating $265.5 million for climate adaptation and supporting climate risk management (CRM) integration at USAID.

Thank you for your consideration.