2015 Agreement lost and damaged without adaptation?

14 March 2014

ECO has noted with pleasure that this week many Parties provided their initial views on the role of adaptation and loss and damage in the 2015 agreement. There’s no doubt whatsoever that these two elements are integral to the 2015 agreement. The agreement simply cannot ignore the growing evidence of how increasingly severe climate change impacts are eroding hard-won development gains due to the massive mitigation and adaptation gaps.

However, ECO is concerned about some Parties’ views that characterise adaptation as a national responsibility. How can it be acceptable to shift the burden of dealing with the impacts of irresponsible consumption and production in some countries to the most vulnerable without offering any support?

For ECO, climate change 101 is pretty simple:

  • 1 x lack of mitigation = required support for adaptation.
  • 2 x lack of mitigation = 2 x required support for adaptation +  loss and damage.

The links between mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage are as obvious as basic math. And here is another more frightening equation:

∑ All current mitigation efforts = >4℃ warming.

Or for those not mathematically inclined, the total sum of all current mitigation efforts will still lead to more than 4℃ of warming.

These equations, like mathematical proofs, are universally applicable. Vulnerable developing countries are not the only ones who will need to adapt, and that will suffer loss and damage. That’s why ECO believes that we need a Global Adaptation Goal which could help the Convention recognise the connection between mitigation and adaptation. Additionally, many countries are understandably calling for an important space for loss and damage in the 2015 agreement.

It’s clear for us here at ECO that the months ahead require fleshing out how the 2015 agreement can ensure that adaptation action is scaled-up massively, including through adequate finance and technology transfer to developing countries to reduce loss and damage. The Adaptation Committee, the Adaptation Fund, the Warsaw Mechanism and the Nairobi Work Programme have all laid a good foundation for further work and Parties should ask these bodies to  provide guidance on how to scale up adaptation in the near- and long-term.

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