Friday, October 18, 2013

A house with many rooms: Addressing loss and damage from climate change

Greenhouse gas emissions
The global community has been too slow to limit greenhouse gas emissions and too slow to adapt to the impacts that climate change will bring. Loss and damage are now inevitable.

Even if every country had a robust plan to adapt to climate change —which they do not—no amount of adaptation will be enough to protect people and property from some of the more serious impacts of climate change. Think of the vast damage that an extreme such as Super storm Sandy can cause, or consider the certainty that some low-lying land will be forever submerged beneath rising seas by the end of this century.

In such cases, loss and damage carries both human and economic costs. And while the human costs can never be repaid, the economic ones can. The question then is: who should pay?

Given that many of the economic impacts of climate change will fall upon the countries and communities that have done least to cause the problem, it might seem obvious that those responsible for creating climate change should foot the bill.

While this principle – that victims can seek recompense from those who have harmed them — is central to the law of most countries, it remains a politically contentious topic in the international context of climate change.

Towards international rules

At the international negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, rich countries – led by the United States – have wanted to prevent any discussion of the topic. Meanwhile the developing nations – led by the small island developing states and the least developed countries have argued for an international mechanism that would compensate countries that suffer loss and damage.

After very strongly contested negotiations at the last conference of parties to the UNFCCC in Doha, Qatar, last year, the international community decided at last to examine options for such a mechanism. As the different parties to the convention get ready for the next conference, in Warsaw in November this year, they must get ready to discuss loss and damage again in a more substantive way.

Recent international and regional meetings have explored ways forward. At one such meeting, which the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network held in Bangkok in August, more than one hundred experts met to discuss the scientific aspects of the issue with support from the government of Japan. They identified research questions and areas in which researchers from developed and developing countries could collaborate. But more science is only part of the solution. We also need a political response and a new era in climate change diplomacy, that of global solidarity.

A house with many rooms

In my keynote address to the meeting in Bangkok, I said that in the context of the UNFCCC, the issue of loss and damage is like a house with many rooms. The poor countries want to go in and explore those rooms but the rich countries don’t want to enter the house.

This is because the rich countries know that there is a room there called "liability", which leads to another room called "compensation". They are afraid of ending up in that room, and so have tried to prevent anyone from even entering the house.

But the rich should not be scared of this house. It has many other rooms with names like "research to minimise losses", "sharing knowledge", “insurance", "risk retention" and "solidarity payments". Moreover, the rooms called "liability" and "compensation" are behind a big door labelled "attribution", and that door is locked shut.

This is because it is impossible to say yet which floods or hurricanes and other disasters are due to the climate change human activities have created, and which would have happened anyway. The key to that door has not yet been forged. Its blacksmiths are the scientific community, and while they may be able to make that key in the future, it is not available yet.

As the rich nations prepare for the Warsaw negotiations, they should not let their fear of what lies behind that door get in the way of action on loss of damage in the other rooms, which ultimately will diminish that which they fear the most.

1 comment:

  1. شرك تسليك مجاري بالقطيف
    الصرف الصحى
    من المشكلات التي يعاني منها معظم المنازل هي انتشار المياه نتيجة عن انسداد المجاري فان هذا الوضع يكون سيء جدا ولا يوفر لهم الراحة ويجعل اصحاب المنازل

    تسليك مجاري بالخبر
    اسعار شركة الاندلس ى متناول الجميع كما توفر الدعم الكامل لدى عملائها

    شركة الصرف الصحى بالدمام
    يشعرون بالقلل ان تنتشر المياه بشكل كبير في المنزل وتأثر بالسلب علي الجدران والبلاط لا نها تعمل علي تشقق الجدران ويمكن تعمل علي العجلة من سقوط المنزل

    شركة الصرف الصحى بالخبر
    مياه المجارى من اخطر الاشياء التى تضر بسلامة المجتمع بشكل عام والاسرة بوجه خاصة لذلك تعمل شركتنا على معالجة مشاكل الصرف الصحى فلا تتردد بالاتصال بنا

    شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام
    فيجب الحرص علي تسليك المجاري (البيارات ) بشكل مستمر حتي لا يحدث مشاكل لان انتشار المياه الملوثة والرائحة الكريهة قد يأثر علي افراد الاسرة بالإصابة بالأمراض الخطيرة

    شركة شفط بيارات بالدمام
    تحرس شركة الاندلس على الضمان الكامل على سلامة خطوط الصرف وعدم اضافة اى مواد تض بها

    شركة شفط المجارى بالخبر
    كذلك توفر سيارات شفط مياه المجارى بصفة مستمرة على مدار الاربعة وعشرون ساعة احدث المعدات المتطورة والحديثة

    شركة شفط بيارات بالقطيف
    شركة الاندلس شركة تسليك مجارى بالجبيل من افضل الشركات المتخصصة القلائل المتواجده فى مدينة الجبيل كافة الحلول وافضل الاداوت والمعدات
    شركة تسليك مجارى بالجبيل