Adaptation, Loss and Damage: The Case for Climate Justice

This paper discusses climate justice in the context of increasing climate costs triggered by anthropogenic climate change and provides a review of the literature to understand the scope of adaptation and Loss & Damage (L&D) costs, the methodologies to quantify them, and the debate around the mechanisms needed to finance them. The first section briefly explains that many countries heavily impacted by climate change are not commensurately responsible for it, yet the financial burden for adaptation and L&D still almost entirely falls on them. The second section clarifies the nature of climate costs and recalls the history of the L&D debate. The third section explores the steps needed to estimate adaptation and L&D costs and to allocate responsibilities for those costs. We review the literature on i) L&D and adaptation costs quantification, ii) the role of human induced climate change versus natural variations (the attribution issue), iii) the contribution of individual countries to climate change and related costs. The fourth section examines potential financing mechanisms and shows that today, the financial support for L&D is insufficient, especially for countries that are vulnerable to extreme weather events and slow-onset processes, including rising sea level. The last section provides a pilot conceptual and methodological framework to assess adaptation and L&D costs and makes an initial attempt to frame a new dedicated Global Climate Impact Fund to share fairly and globally the burden of financing for human-induced adaptation and L&D costs among responsible countries.

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