The debate on “Loss and Damage” (L&D) has gained traction over the last few years. Supported by growing scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change amplifying frequency, intensity and duration of climate-related hazards as well as observed increases in climate-related impacts and risks in many regions, the “Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage” was established in 2013 and further supported through the Paris Agreement in 2015. Despite advances, the debate currently is broad, diffuse and somewhat confusing, while concepts, methods and tools, as well as directions for policy remain vague and often contested. This book, a joint effort of the Loss and Damage Network—a partnership effort by scientists and practitioners from around the globe—provides evidence-based insight into the L&D discourse by highlighting state-of-the-art research conducted across multiple disciplines, by showcasing applications in practice and by providing insight into policy contexts and salient policy options. This introductory chapter summarises key findings of the twenty-two book chapters in terms of five propositions. These propositions, each building on relevant findings linked to forward-looking suggestions for research, policy and practice, reflect the architecture of the book, whose sections proceed from setting the stage to critical issues, followed by a section on methods and tools, to chapters that provide geographic perspectives, and finally to a section that identifies potential policy options. The propositions comprise (1) Risk management can be an effective entry point for aligning perspectives and debates, if framed comprehensively, coupled with climate justice considerations and linked to established risk management and adaptation practice; (2) Attribution science is advancing rapidly and fundamental to informing actions to minimise, avert, and address losses and damages; (3) Climate change research, in addition to identifying physical/hard limits to adaptation, needs to more systematically examine soft limits to adaptation, for which we find some evidence across several geographies globally; (4) Climate risk insurance mechanisms can serve the prevention and cure aspects emphasised in the L&D debate but solidarity and accountability aspects need further attention, for which we find tentative indication in applications around the world; (5) Policy deliberations may need to overcome the perception that L&D constitutes a win-lose negotiation “game” by developing a more inclusive narrative that highlights collective ambition for tackling risks, mutual benefits and the role of transformation.
Mechler R., Bouwer L., Schinko T., Surminski S., Linnerooth-Bayer J.