With extreme weather, rising sea levels and increasing risk of drought, the harmful effects of climate change already show. Vulnerable communities cannot wait to adapt.

Climate adaptation can save crops, preserve kids’ health and protect homes. That’s why U.S. officials have been talking about adaptation and why the United States funds adaptation. Since 2009, the U.S. has boosted funding for climate-resilience projects eightfold. From 2010 to 2012, U.S. support reached 120 countries, through both country-to-country assistance and global programs.

On November 30, the United States announced a 2015–2016 contribution of more than $51 million to the Least Developed Countries Fund, which responds to pressing adaptation needs.

Countering local impacts

The U.S. helps highly vulnerable countries deal with climate change locally.

SERVIR satellite data assists with adaptation. (USAID)

For instance, a U.S.-supported program called SERVIR empowers forecasters in Bangladesh to warn locals of expected floods days earlier than they issued such warnings in the past. With resources from USAID and satellite data from NASA, Bangladeshi scientists involved in SERVIR have developed early warning systems that will provide millions of Bangladeshis with this lifesaving information during monsoon season. The program will become more important as climate change progresses and the risk of flooding grows in the country.

Climate change is also eroding traditional farming practices. Narciso Ballester, a farmer in the Philippines, says that “before, we predicted the weather and knew when to plant. But these days, the weather is unpredictable.” To keep farmers such as Ballester resilient, regardless of the weather, the U.S. supports climate-smart agriculture through field schools, innovative crop strategies and resilient infrastructure in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

Worldwide programs

(Courtesy of Green Climate Fund)

At the global level, the U.S. has pledged $3 billion — the largest pledge of any country — to the Green Climate Fund, a new multilateral fund that helps the world’s poorest countries respond to climate change. Half of the fund will support climate-adaptation measures.

The Green Climate Fund just announced its first round of projects, which include protecting Peruvian wetlands, improving early-warning systems for droughts in Malawi and preventing freshwater shortages in the Maldives.

Climate adaptation is a vital part of the U.S. and the world’s response to climate change. You can follow the action at the U.N. Conference of the Parties, COP21, until December 11 @FactsOnClimate and @US_Center. Or join the conversation on Twitter at #ActOnClimate and #AskUSCenter.