It’s not just the economics, stupid!
10 June 2015
Most of the work on loss and damage has focused on estimating the economic costs of climate change impacts, such as the US$50 billion worth of losses and damages from Hurricane Sandy in the USA.
In a similar fashion, non-economic loss and damage has also been converted into market-based economic damage using contingent valuation and other techniques. These measurement efforts undermine the real value of certain items and are inherently problematic. It is important to recognise that not all loss and damage can, or even should, be converted to economic values alone.
ECO agrees with environmental economists that some loss and damage cannot be measured in numbers. Loss of human lives, species, cultural practices, symbols and ecosystems are irreconcilable no matter how much money is spent. Such loses would undermine the ability of communities to respond to stresses. Attempting to just pay for their loss is not a sustainable way to deal with climate change. Loss and damage goes beyond adaptation, but it also isn’t just a way to unburden offenders of their crime. A civilised world would not allow the irrecoverable loss of invaluable lives, species and ecosystems.