Adaptation and Loss and Damage

Climate Change Adaptation and Loss & Damage, associated with the adverse effects of climate change, are among the priority thematic areas of our work. We aim to build on scientific evidence and information related to these issues to assist governments in designing policies and programmes to address the needs of the most vulnerable.

 ©Florent Baarsch / Climate Analytics
©Florent Baarsch / Climate Analytics

Our areas of expertise

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Our programs and studies mainly focus on scientific and economic analysis of adaptation options, including cost of residual damages and policy inputs. Our policy experts play an important role in providing real-time support and advice to delegates at UN Climate change negotiations on issues related to adaptation and loss and damage. Our experts have contributed to Africa’s Adaptation Gap reports, published in 2013 and 2015, and for the global level and study on Loss and Damage in Africa.

Publications

Sea-level rise poses a significant threat to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) due to the concentration of people, assets, and infrastructure in coastal zones. This review assesses literature on key emerging topics in sea level rise including: the lasting impact of near-term mitigation on long-term sea-level rise; new global coastal vertical elevation data and their impact on existing sea-level rise projections; and the interaction of sea-level rise with other hazards, including salinization, tropical cyclones and extreme precipitation. We characterize the regional nature of sea-level rise for SIDS and highlight associated impacts and risks. Finally, we review approaches to address sea-level rise as well as limits to adaptation and resultant economic and non-economic loss and damage that may be experienced by SIDS.  
Climate change has emerged as a growing threat to the European economy, whose economic losses are relevant for global growth. Rising temperatures and worsening extreme events are expected to affect climate-vulnerable sectors. Due to the economic integration within the European Union (EU), these impacts will likely have spillover effects and feedback loops to and from other regions. This study uses spatial econometrics to account for the interdependencies between the subnational EU regions to estimate the future impacts of changes in temperature on sectoral labour productivity under the Paris Agreement. The study confirms the presence of spatial spillover effects of climate change, and finds that observations at the economy-wide level of a non-linear, concave and single-peaked relationship between temperature and productivity do not always hold true at the sectoral level.  
This article looks at the politics of L&D and inquires into negotiators´ perceptions of the most contentious issues surrounding L&D negotiations. It shows how the legitimacy of L&D as a negotiations issue is still not accepted by all and how compensation has different connotations for different negotiators. The paper argues that L&D is an ultimately political issue with distributional consequences and as such should not be treated as a purely technical problem.  
The Paris Agreement includes the concept of a global stocktake (GST), a process by which progress on climate action is assessed, providing a critical opportunity to review overall progress made on mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation and support. Due in part to strong advocacy by small island developing states (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs), additional thematic areas will be part of the process. However, there remain significant research gaps on L&D that need to be addressed to support a robust GST.  
This briefing takes a look at how issues relevant for loss and damage, and particularly important to Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, have increased in prominence in the recent IPCC Special Reports. The reports agree that attributable climate change impacts are evident at today’s levels of warming. Even some extreme events, such as marine heat waves, are almost completely attributable to climate change, providing a solid underpinning for the loss and damage discourse.  

Projects

The EmBARK-project investigates time scales and possible trajectories of socio-economic transformation processes and analyse their relevance as potential barriers to adaptation to climate change. An improved understanding of the temporal dynamics of such barriers is key in developing a more realistic understanding of future climate impacts and for scientifically robust assessment of future climate related loss and damage.  
This project provides francophone Least Developed Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with science-based support when formulating their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). In addition, it will give these countries access to international climate finance and establish national, international and regional platforms to share knowledge and experiences.    
Produced for the AMCEN, the research aims at improving and understanding science related to loss and damage in Africa, as well as the existing mechanisms to address loss and damage and their limitations. The research also explores the options for institutional arrangements on loss and damage under the UNFCC and investigates the next steps related to the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. Project Period: 2013 - 2014