We need to start focusing on (and funding) adaptation

Christian Hernandez
3 min readMar 21, 2024


“To limit global warming to 1.5°C, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030.” — UNFCCC

In 2015 the world celebrated the breakthrough Paris Agreement and a pathway to start tackling our global emissions through a common acceptance of human-caused climate change. We gave ourselves some buffer (10 years) for emissions to peak. We laid out an ambition for emissions to halve by 2030 and halve again by 2040… and we failed.

Climate Central

Based on the current trajectory our emissions continue to rise rather than fall. We are the proverbial lemmings running towards the cliff’s end. The past year has shown us how increasing temperatures start causing “one in a hundred year” events (like flooding in the streets of Beijing, asphalt that burns the skin in Arizona and massive snow storms in California) become common place.

Flooded Beijing. Jade Gao @ AFP

So while my rosy eyed glasses would love to see Climate Tech innovation solve our emissions addiction, the realist in me accepts that we will likely not hit our 2030 targets…and that we need to also start talking about adaptation.

“Adaptation refers to adjustments in ecological, social or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects. It refers to changes in processes, practices and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change.” — UNFCCC

So what does adaptation mean for Climate Tech VC? Alex Laplaza (formerly of LowerCarbon) has a brilliant post on this with the money quote being:

Trillions need to be deployed into adaptation, and they need to start being deployed now! But the True North of adaptation is a challenge. With mitigation (lowering our emissions), we have agreed on CO2e (emissions of CO2 and euquilavency for other greenhouse gases) as the True North. What might that be for adaptation? Less floods? Less fires? Less deaths?

Regardless of your stance on climate change or “ESG” adaptation has in itself a huge economic potential. Bill Gates and former UN Secretary Geneal Ban Ki-Moon place the upside at $7.1 Trillion.

I was lucky to be part of the World Economic Forum’s deep dive into the business opportunity for adaptation which led to this white paper released at COP27.

The core point of this diatribe is: We are not on track for Paris. Bad things will start happening more frequently. We must start adpating. That requires Trillions of investment NOW. Venture needs to figure out what role it can play…



Christian Hernandez

Partner at @2150-vc backing technologies that make our world more resilient and sustainable. Salvadoran-born Londoner. YGL of the @wef Father ^3