Schinko, T.
Hochrainer-Stigler, S.
Mechler, R.


Springer Link

Year of Publication:



The Warsaw Loss and Damage Mechanism holds high appeal for complementing actions on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and for delivering needed support for tackling intolerable climate related-risks that will neither be addressed by mitigation nor by adaptation. Yet, negotiations under the UNFCCC are caught between demands for climate justice, understood as compensation, for increases in extreme and slow-onset event risk, and the reluctance of other parties to consider Loss and Damage outside of an adaptation framework. Working towards a jointly acceptable position we suggest an actionable way forward for the deliberations may be based on aligning comprehensive climate risk analytics with distributive and compensatory justice considerations. Our proposed framework involves in a short-medium term, needs-based perspective support for climate risk management beyond countries ability to absorb risk. In a medium-longer term, liability-based perspective we particularly suggest to consider liabilities attributable to anthropogenic climate change and associated impacts. We develop the framework based on principles of need and liability, and identify the policy space for Loss and Damage as composed of curative and transformative measures. Transformative measures, such as managed retreat, have already received attention in discussions on comprehensive climate risk management. Curative action is less clearly defined, and more contested. Among others, support for a climate displacement facility could qualify here. For both sets of measures, risk financing (such as ‘climate insurance’) emerges as an entry point for further policy action, as it holds potential for both risk management as well as compensation functions. To quantify the Loss and Damage space for specific countries, we suggest as one option to build on a risk layering approach that segments risk and risk interventions according to risk tolerance. An application to fiscal risks in Bangladesh and at the global scale provides an estimate of countries’ financial support needs for dealing with intolerable layers of flood risk. With many aspects of Loss and Damage being of immaterial nature, we finally suggest that our broad risk and justice approach in principle can also see application to issues such as migration and preservation of cultural heritage.

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