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No liability in Loss and Damage

By December 10, 2015 No Comments

The French Presidency submitted a new version of the draft text for the Paris agreement one hour ago. The new draft is just two pages smaller than the previous one, but contains way less brackets: reduced to 50, compared to 367 in the last version.

Nevertheless, the most complex issues will need further discussion in the next hours. These have to do with the firewall that marks the differentiation between developed and developing countries, which will in turn define the level of ambition and the finance mechanism for adaptation and loss and damage.

Although there is no mention of a clear financial mechanism to address payments for loss and damage, options presented in the new draft appear more concise. Among others, unbracketed implementation approaches include early warning systems, comprehensive risk management and assessment, climate risk facilities, and climate risk pooling.

The implementation approaches also provide options for non-economic losses, climate change induced displacement, migration & planned relocation. However, a specific mention to “irreversible and permanent damage” can potentially leave out certain categories of events related to climate change.

The clarity in outlining the implementation options is not reflective of the strength, as well as the mechanism for finance that is needed to address loss and damage. The text appears to talk of a coordinating body, without offering details on how support will be addressed and distributed.

There is a clear statement that loss and damage will be addressed in a way that:

“Does not involve or provide a basis for liability or compensation nor prejudice existing rights”.

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This is something that actually contradicts the notion of Common but Differentiated Responsibility, which is one of the few, but critical, points that still remain between brackets.

As the negotiating Parties take the next 2.5 hours to look at the text before they return to the plenary for their reactions, first responses came from civil society organizations.

According to Alix Mazounie, of Réseau Action-Climat France;

“The French presidency is seeing an unprecedented level of support…the loss and damage language, and scaling up commitments by 2018—these issues all need to get sorted. There are still too many red lines on the table”

This article was written by Dizzanne Billy and Pavlos Georgiadis

Dizzanne Billy

About Dizzanne Billy

Dizzanne Billy is the Caribbean Outreach Manager at Climate Tracker. She is a Content Creator, Creative Director, and Digital Marketing professional. Dizzanne graduated from the University of the West Indies with an MSc. in Global Studies, focusing her research on global environmental governance. She is passionate about writing, environmental advocacy, and learning about different cultures.

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