Characterising loss and damage from climate change
James, R., Otto, F., Parker, H., Boyd, E., Cornforth, R., Mitchell, D. and Allen, M. (2014) Characterising loss and damage from climate change. Nature Climate Change, 4 (11). pp. 938-939. ISSN 1758-678X
To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2411
Policy-makers are creating mechanisms to help developing countries cope with loss and damage from climate change, but the negotiations are largely neglecting scientific questions about what the impacts of climate change actually are. Mitigation efforts have failed to prevent the continued increase of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Adaptation is now unlikely to be sufficient to prevent negative impacts from current and future climate change1. In this context, vulnerable nations argue that existing frameworks to promote mitigation and adaptation are inadequate, and have called for a third international mechanism to deal with residual climate change impacts, or “loss and damage”2. In 2013, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) responded to these calls and established the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) to address loss and damage from the impacts of climate change in developing countries3. An interim Executive Committee of party representatives has been set up, and is currently drafting a two-year workplan comprising meetings, reports, and expert groups; and aiming to enhance knowledge and understanding of loss and damage, strengthen dialogue among stakeholders, and promote enhanced action and support. Issues identified as priorities for the WIM thus far include: how to deal with non-economic losses, such as loss of life, livelihood, and cultural heritage; and linkages between loss and damage and patterns of migration and displacement2. In all this, one fundamental issue still demands our attention: which losses and damages are relevant to the WIM? What counts as loss and damage from climate change?
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