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Loss and Damage and limits to adaptation: recent IPCC insights and implications for climate science and policy


Mechler, Reinhard; Singh, C; Ebi, K; Djalante, R; Thomas, A; James, R; Tschakert, P; Wewerinke-Singh, M; Schinko, T; Ley, D; Nalau, J; Bouwer, L M; Huggel, Christian; Huq, S; Linnerooth-Bayer, J; Surminski, S; Pinho, P; Jones, R; Boyd, E; Revi, A (2020). Loss and Damage and limits to adaptation: recent IPCC insights and implications for climate science and policy. Sustainability Science, 15(4):1245-1251.

Abstract

Recent evidence shows that climate change is leading to irreversible and existential impacts on vulnerable communities and countries across the globe. Among other effects, this has given rise to public debate and engagement around notions of climate crisis and emergency. The Loss and Damage (L&D) policy debate has emphasized these aspects over the last three decades. Yet, despite institutionalization through an article on L&D by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the Paris Agreement, the debate has remained vague, particularly with reference to its remit and relationship to adaptation policy and practice. Research has recently made important strides forward in terms of developing a science perspective on L&D. This article reviews insights derived from recent publications by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and others, and presents the implications for science and policy. Emerging evidence on hard and soft adaptation limits in certain systems, sectors and regions holds the potential to further build momentum for climate policy to live up to the Paris ambition of stringent emission reductions and to increase efforts to support the most vulnerable. L&D policy may want to consider actions to extend soft adaptation limits and spur transformational, that is, non-standard risk management and adaptation, so that limits are not breached. Financial, technical, and legal support would be appropriate for instances where hard limits are transgressed. Research is well positioned to further develop robust evidence on critical and relevant risks at scale in the most vulnerable countries and communities, as well as options to reduce barriers and limits to adaptation.

Abstract

Recent evidence shows that climate change is leading to irreversible and existential impacts on vulnerable communities and countries across the globe. Among other effects, this has given rise to public debate and engagement around notions of climate crisis and emergency. The Loss and Damage (L&D) policy debate has emphasized these aspects over the last three decades. Yet, despite institutionalization through an article on L&D by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the Paris Agreement, the debate has remained vague, particularly with reference to its remit and relationship to adaptation policy and practice. Research has recently made important strides forward in terms of developing a science perspective on L&D. This article reviews insights derived from recent publications by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and others, and presents the implications for science and policy. Emerging evidence on hard and soft adaptation limits in certain systems, sectors and regions holds the potential to further build momentum for climate policy to live up to the Paris ambition of stringent emission reductions and to increase efforts to support the most vulnerable. L&D policy may want to consider actions to extend soft adaptation limits and spur transformational, that is, non-standard risk management and adaptation, so that limits are not breached. Financial, technical, and legal support would be appropriate for instances where hard limits are transgressed. Research is well positioned to further develop robust evidence on critical and relevant risks at scale in the most vulnerable countries and communities, as well as options to reduce barriers and limits to adaptation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Global and Planetary Change
Social Sciences & Humanities > Health (social science)
Social Sciences & Humanities > Geography, Planning and Development
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Physical Sciences > Nature and Landscape Conservation
Physical Sciences > Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Geography, Planning and Development, Global and Planetary Change, Sociology and Political Science, Health(social science), Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law, Nature and Landscape Conservation
Language:English
Date:1 July 2020
Deposited On:07 Jan 2021 16:06
Last Modified:24 Jul 2024 01:40
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1862-4057
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-020-00807-9
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)