Loss and damage refers to impacts of climate change that occur despite adaptation and mitigation efforts. This brief provides a background on loss and damage, its importance for the Caribbean, tools and methodologies to determine costs of loss and damage, and potential innovative financing mechanisms. The region has seen an increase in the number of recorded weather and climate hazards and resultant impacts on biophysical and human systems. As global temperatures continue to increase, Caribbean SIDS face significant levels of both economic and non-economic loss and damage.
- The global average temperature increase has led to detrimental impacts across the spectrum of life in the Caribbean including effects on agriculture and food production, human health, ecosystems, tourism, fresh water availability, energy production, livelihoods, human productivity, critical infrastructure and economic development.
- The intense hurricane season of 2017 called attention to the severity of loss and damage that the region faces. Across the region, damages of approximately USD10 billion were estimated to have been incurred due to damages to residential and commercial infrastructure, equipment and goods from Hurricane Irma alone.
- Hurricane impacts, tourism losses and infrastructure damage from sea level rise could amount to USD22 billion per year by 2050 and USD46 billion per year by 2100, representing 10% and 22% of current regional GDP.
- Methodologies for loss and damage cost assessments vary depending on the school of thought and mostly derive from Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction. Climate Change Adaptation assesses loss and damage costs prior to a possible disaster to offer possible adaptation methods. Disaster Risk Reduction includes pre and post disaster assessments of loss and damage.
- All methodologies rely either on available data or the collection of data. Lack of access to existing data or lack of collection of detailed data prohibits robust assessment of loss and damage costs.
- Finance options for meeting the costs of loss and damage can be grouped according to the basic mechanism they apply and whether they contain an element of risk transfer or not. Bonds and specifically catastrophe bonds can be categorised as innovative approaches to financing loss and damage.
Carbon majors’ trillion dollar damages
In this report we explore who could pay for loss and damage through the lens of responsibility for historic emissions, and the financial gains generated from selling oil and gas.
Coastal loss and damage for small islands
This commentary on a paper in Nature Sustainability reviews how the study quantifies the impacts of sea-level rise on small island states and estimates the impacts in terms of cost, land loss and population exposure across all small islands worldwide.
Risks of synchronised low yields are underestimated in climate and crop model projections
This study finds that the jet stream – air currents in the upper atmosphere – can synchronise extreme weather caused by climate change, resulting in crop failures in multiple countries at the same time.
Research agenda for the loss and damage fund
This piece in Nature discusses what research could contribute to the design of the loss and damage fund.
Climate justice and loss and damage: Hurricane Dorian, Haitians and human rights
Haitian communities were the locus of the majority of deaths and missing people attributed to the 2019 Hurricane Dorian and faced a series of distributional, procedural and recognition injustices. We investigate the historical factors and contemporary conditions of Haitian communities in The Bahamas that resulted in significant inequities, disproportional impacts and infractions of human rights.
Assessment of adaptation potentials in the context of climate change: the case of tropical cyclones in the Caribbean
This report looks into the application of a natural catastrophe model that calculates climate risk and potential of adaptation in the Caribbean.
Loss and damage implications of sea-level rise on Small Island Developing States
This review assesses the regional nature of sea-level rise for Small Island Developing States, highlights associated impacts and risks, and reviews limits to adaptation and resultant economic and non-economic loss and damage.
Two steps down the debt spiral: COVID-19 and tropical cyclones severely limit the fiscal space of many Small Island Developing States
With tourism being one of the sectors most affected by Covid-19, many SIDS economies find themselves critically hit by the pandemic, adding to the continued financial stress through tropical cyclone-induced losses. Climate models project further risks.