The Risk and Policy Space for Loss and Damage: Integrating Notions of Distributive and Compensatory Justice with Comprehensive Climate Risk Management

Thomas Schinko, Reinhard Mechler, Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingChapter in edited volume


The Warsaw Loss and Damage Mechanism holds high appeal for complementing
actions on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and for delivering
needed support for tackling intolerable climate related-risks that will neither be
addressed by mitigation nor by adaptation. Yet, negotiations under the UNFCCC
are caught between demands for climate justice, understood as compensation, for
increases in extreme and slow-onset event risk, and the reluctance of other parties to
consider Loss and Damage outside of an adaptation framework. Working towards a
jointly acceptable positionwe suggest an actionableway forward for the deliberations
may be based on aligning comprehensive climate risk analytics with distributive and
compensatory justice considerations. Our proposed framework involves in a shortmedium
term, needs-based perspective support for climate risk management beyond
countries ability to absorb risk. In a medium-longer term, liability-based perspective
we particularly suggest to consider liabilities attributable to anthropogenic climate
change and associated impacts. We develop the framework based on principles of
need and liability, and identify the policy space for Loss and Damage as composed
of curative and transformativemeasures. Transformativemeasures, such as managed
retreat, have already received attention in discussions on comprehensive climate risk
management. Curative action is less clearly defined, and more contested. Among
others, support for a climate displacement facility could qualify here. For both sets
of measures, risk financing (such as "climate insurance") emerges as an entry point
for further policy action, as it holds potential for both risk management as well as compensation functions. To quantify the Loss and Damage space for specific countries,
we suggest as one option to build on a risk layering approach that segments
risk and risk interventions according to risk tolerance. An application to fiscal risks
in Bangladesh and at the global scale provides an estimate of countries' financial
support needs for dealing with intolerable layers of flood risk.With many aspects of
Loss and Damage being of immaterial nature, we finally suggest that our broad risk
and justice approach in principle can also see application to issues such as migration
and preservation of cultural heritage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLoss and Damage from Climate Change
EditorsR. Mechler, L. Bouwer, S. Surminski, J. Linnerooth-Baxer
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-72026-5
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2018

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