Adaptation to climate change will no longer be enough says report by CARE, WWF & ActionAid

With the world set to experience more extreme weather, rising seas, land degradation and environmental destruction, a new report warns compensation and rehabilitation needs more focus (© UN Photo/Mark Garten)

By Tierney Smith

Much more focus will have to be placed on rehabilitation and compensation for those hit by climate change, as mitigation and adaptation methods fall short, according to an NGO report.

What the world will look like with worsening climate change is still largely unknown. But the report says the warning signs of this imagined world are already before us.

It warns that predictions suggest climate change could inflict devastating damage to ecosystems, human life, land and property. These predictions include the destruction of the world’s forests and corals, extreme land degradation and desertification, polar ice melt, storms, floods and drought.

In a joint report by CARE, ActionAid, German Watch and WWF they call for the resultant loss and irreversible impacts of climate change to be addressed quickly – with the world set to overshoot the 2°C threshold, moving instead towards a 4-6°C world.

A world where those in the poorest nations will suffer worst from climate change impacts, which will leave much of Sub-Saharan Africa struggling for food and many Pacific Island completely submerged by water.

Loss and damage can not be avoided, says the report, and the conversations going on amongst politicians and negotiators must reflect this.

When the UNFCCC was agreed 20 years ago at Rio de Janeiro it was agreed that: “States shall co-operate in an expeditious and more determined manner to develop further international law regarding liability and compensation for adverse effects of environmental damage caused by activities within their jurisdiction or control to areas beyond their jurisdiction.”


The report sets out a clear set of recommendations in order for the process to fulfil this aim:

1. Firstly, it calls for a ramping-up of the mitigation and adaptation ambition by the countries involved in the climate negotiations – after all prevention is better than cure.

2. Governments must be ahead of the curve and more focus needs to be placed on the longer-term impacts of climate change under Disaster Risk Reduction (DDR) frameworks. The report also calls for the financial resources to help scale up DDR.

3. Decision makers need to focus on addressing vulnerability and building resilience – especially for the most vulnerable people, communities and ecosystems.

4. Loss and damage must be addressed beyond adaptation and compensation and rehabilitation need to be considered.

5. Countries need to scale-up their risk assessment and building capacity should be addressed. The NGOs believe the UNFCCC process could play an important role in co-ordinating such activities.

6. New international approaches to loss and damage are needed – including facilities for risk management and insurance for poor countries.

7. Climate finance should be used to help scale-up capacity building – and mechanisms to raise finance including aviation, maritime and financial transaction taxes should be pursued.

8. Loss and damage should be a key component of the Durban Platform and the 2015 agreement under the UNFCCC.

9. Other global bodies will also have a role to play including the UN Security Council and the UN High Commissions on Human Rights Council in addressing issues created by climate change.

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