Loss and Damage as a Separate Workstream of the GST

4 December 2018

The renewed, upward march of global carbon emissions is worrying and a big step backwards in the fight against climate change. Here at the COP, ECO is all too aware that the more we exceed 1°C of warming above pre-industrial levels the greater the impacts on poor people and ecosystems. It’s not that long ago that the IPCC 1.5 report warned us of the consequences of exceeding the limits of adaptation.

In the last twelve months we have seen this warning manifest around the world €“ from deadly bushfires, to extreme floods and devastating hurricane seasons €“ it’s clear that loss and damage from climate change is the new reality for developed and developing countries alike. It’s also clear that vulnerable developing countries do not have the capacity to deal with these impacts, while having had no role in causing them. ECO is concerned that the negotiators in Katowice COP are forgetting about this crisis.

The GST aims to assess whether the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement are being met. According to Article 14. Para 1, the GST must take into consideration “the latest science”. The latest science, in the form of the conclusions from the IPCC, warns of the devastating losses and damages the world will experience at +1.5°C warming. By not properly addressing these losses and damages, we risk undermining the Paris Agreement and our own chances of meeting its long-term goals, and protecting people, biodiversity and nature.

ECO urges for a dedicated loss and damage workstream along with mitigation, adaptation and financial flows under the GST, for its preparatory phase, technical phase and political phase. This is the only way to comprehensively reflect on the progress of the Paris Agreement and not hide loss and damage €” having a separate article of its own €” as a cross cutting issue. Only by doing this will the true mandate of the GST €” to take stock of the entire Paris Agreement and of whether its long-term goals are being met €” be fulfilled.

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