Loss and Damage: The Missing Link or the Smoking Gun?

3 December 2018

Loss and damage is the smoking gun of climate change. When super heated wildfires leave whole regions in California a smouldering ruin, super charged hurricanes and cyclones decimate countries in the Caribbean and the Pacific, and when cities in Africa are left counting the days of their remaining water supply, there can be no doubt that irreversible impacts of climate change are clear and present.

It is therefore little wonder that loss and damage was agreed to as an integral part of the Paris Agreement. It was, of course, a part of the political calculation of getting the Paris package. In fact, it was deemed important enough to include as a stand-alone article.

Fast forward to today where there are attempts to bracket it out of existence. Surrounding loss and damage with brackets isn’t the way to make it go away. Getting in a time machine and taking enough mitigation action 10 or 20 years ago is the only way it could have been avoided (Yes, this is ECO saying: “I told you so!”). Sadly, a lack of mitigation action €” and an equally sad lack of adaptation finance €” means that loss and damage is here to stay.

An explicit reference to loss and damage in Article 9.5, 9.7 €” and the modalities, procedures, and guidelines (MPGs) of the transparency framework €” is essential. You agreed, in Article 8, to enhance finance for loss and damage on a cooperative and facilitative basis. So cooperate! Don’t renegotiate!