Monday, September 10, 2012

Loss and damage from climate change: After adaptation

Saleemul Huq in the Daily Star (Bangladesh): The climate talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bangkok ended on September 5 in preparation for the eighteenth conference of parties (COP18) which will be held in Doha, Qatar in December 2012. Although not much moved forward in the Bangkok talks, one new topic that gained momentum was the issue of Loss and Damage from Climate Change.

...The government of Bangladesh together with a number of leading research institutes including the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University, Bangladesh, BRAC University, North South University and others, are also carrying out a major research exercise on this new and emerging topic.

....There is already a long history of assessing loss and damage from natural climate events, such as floods, cyclones and droughts around the world, both in terms of human lives lost as well as economic metrics. These historical data-sets are available for most countries as well as globally. The difference between such climatic events of the past and present is the additional incremental attribution from human induced climate change, which although not quantifiable yet, is certainly no longer zero.

...It is very clear that the efforts to deal with potential future loss and damage from climate change will overlap considerably with adaptation to climate change, so it is perhaps useful to separate loss and damage from adaptation by considering the latter to include "loss and damage after adaptation." In other words, even with ideal levels of adaptation, there will still be some "residual impacts" leading to loss and damage. There are also limits to adaptation which will result in such residual loss and damage...

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