Loss and damage. Providing assistance to climate victims

Véronique Rigot Véronique Rigot 14 octobre 2013

POINT SUD, a CNCD-11.11.11 research | n°9

Loss and damage. Providing assistance to climate victims

The sense of urgency is clearly visible when you are there”, said Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action, at the Pacific Islands Forum that was held at the beginning of September 2013. The Majuro Declaration, which was signed at the close of the forum, is a call to all governments, economic entities, businesses, civil-society organisations and individuals to take action on climate change.

“Soon it will be too late for the planet”. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary- General of the United Nations, used these words in early April 2013 to call for action to ensure the planet is inhabitable for the 9 billion individuals who will live on Earth in 2050. For many years, the scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been unequivocal on the topic of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Despite an undeniable increase in awareness of the problem, modern society remains stuck in a pattern of unsuitable lifestyles and excessive consumption.

Climate change is already visible from Bangladesh to West Africa, and in all developing countries. Such countries are most vulnerable to climate risks even though, historically speaking, they are not responsible for the CO2 trapped in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. That is “the fundamental injustice of climate change”, according to Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a Belgian climate expert who is Vice-Chair of the IPCC.

Faced with these climate risks, adaptation initiatives are insufficient ; what we need to discuss now is a new mechanism for taking responsibility for the damage caused by inevitable disasters. This is the demand being made by the most vulnerable countries within the UN : they wish to go beyond climate insurance and instead see the creation of an international institutional mechanism to take responsibility for climate loss and damage at the Warsaw Climate.

Change Conference due to be held in Poland in November 2013. This mechanism must be an integral part of the future international climate agreement that must be signed by 2015.

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