Problematising loss and damage

David J. Wrathall, Anthony Oliver-Smith, Alexander Fekete, Ebru Gencer, Marquesa Lepana Reyes, Patrick Sakdapolrak

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed

Abstract

In the space of a few short years, the UNFCCC process has given birth to a new policy regime, the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, to prepare for the adverse consequences of climate change to vulnerable societies. The justification for this policy is that a residual domain exists wherein climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and public/private risk transfer mechanisms are insufficient for peoples and places overwhelmed by climate impacts. We link this domain conceptually to scientific research on climate change impacts, and specifically to research on limits to adaptation. The normative position of this academic debate is generally oriented toward the need for transformative adaptation. This paper aims to anticipate the challenges that the Warsaw mechanism will encounter achieving transformation in practice. Both policy design (as it is taking shape) and implementation face a set of interrelated conceptual and operational problems that challenge whether resources can and will address adverse consequences among the most vulnerable. In the end, loss and damage policy may suffer from the same limitations as adaptation policy: it is concerned with the reconstitution of vulnerable states of being, rather than their transformation into something more fundamentally conducive of wellbeing and development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-294
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Global Warming
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 507017 Social geography

Keywords

  • climate change impact
  • social vulnerability
  • adaptation limits
  • compensation
  • risk management
  • loss and damage policy
  • transformation
  • LIMITS
  • SCOPE
  • VULNERABILITY
  • adaptation
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE IMPACTS
  • SPACE
  • DISASTER RISK
  • ADAPTATION
  • SYSTEMS
  • HAZARDS
  • climate change
  • Climate change
  • Compensation
  • Risk management
  • Social vulnerability
  • Adaptation

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