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Loss and Damage

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group II contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, emphasizes that efforts to avert, minimize, and address loss and damage (L&D) are critical and necessary. Given that collective efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission and adapt are not enough to match the speed and scale of growing climate impacts, some L&D from climate change is inevitable, even if we achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Loss and damage” is not formally defined under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or Paris Agreement and generally refers to the economic and non-economic damage associated with slow onset events and extreme weather events caused by climate change. From the start of international climate negotiations, vulnerable nations have called for the provision of financial assistance and technical support to help them address L&D.

Since the 2013 establishment of a formal mechanism on L&D, the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) and its executive committee, UNFCCC Parties have continued to examine and build upon the tools and institutions needed to minimize, avert and address L&D. Part of the WIM and established in 2019 to catalyze the technical assistance, knowledge, and resources developing countries need to address L&D, the Santiago Network was operationalized in 2022.

In a historic agreement at COP27, Parties agreed to establish “new funding arrangements,” including establishing a fund, for assisting developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in responding to L&D, These arrangements represent a hard-fought compromise between developed and developing countries, but important questions still remain regarding how the L&D funding arrangements and fund will be resourced and operationalized.

As L&D becomes increasingly a reality around the world and a greater focus of attention in international climate diplomacy. C2ES is making this key issue a central part of our mission, working toward achieving an international consensus on this contentious issue – including through expert analysis, policy briefs, blogs, and convenings of key stakeholders – in a way that is effective to help the most climate vulnerable people around the world.

Kaveh Guilanpour discusses historic UN vote on CNN International

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