The rights of the world’s most vulnerable peoples to compensation for loss and damage caused by climate disaster are on the line this week. Today, more than ever, we must raise our voices to stand with the people of the Philippines, of Asia, of Africa, of the Pacific – and of the whole world.
I’m writing this post from the sprawling Le Bourget conference centre here in Paris. With just two days to go in the crucial United Nations climate talks, things are moving fast. The ambassador from Samoa just stressed that small island states like his cannot survive a two degree warmer world. Haiti just stated that any delay with ‘mortgage the existence‘ of his very country. Just a few hours ago, 500 activists launched a sit in for climate justice. Last night, the Guardian revealed a new alliance of ‘high ambition’ countries, calling for a binding deal. With every new draft of the Paris climate deal, new compromises are made.
As I send this email to you, a new ministerial meeting is beginning to discuss loss and damage – the technical name for dealing with climate catastrophe and its impacts on cities, communities, and peoples. The whole section of the Paris deal about loss and damage is up in the air.
But it could bury loss and damage deep within existing adaptation mechanisms. Or it could create a third pillar of the UN climate regime, recognising that some climate disasters go beyond the limits of adaptation. We’ve pushed the rich countries into accepting that the deal will confront loss and damage – but not how.