Proving Loss and Damage


Myanmar After Cyclone Komen

Myanmar After Cyclone Komen.

During an official COP22 side event entitled “Quantitative Scientific Evidence for Loss and Damage,” researchers from the Center for International Climate and Energy Research – Oslo  (CICERO) and University of Oxford, among others, presented deductive methodologies capable of apportioning country-specific anthropogenic contributions “responsible” for other nation’s loss and damage (while science can track contributions between climate change indicators and increases in extreme weather events, there is no link between contribution and responsibility). Theoretically, science can now determine how the emissions of the EU increased the likelihood of heat waves in Argentina. Since this is only a contribution analysis, it cannot prove liability.

This type of modeling is a recent development. Dr. Otto from the University of Oxford, and Dr. Fuglestvedt of CICERO are two of the pioneers. Dr. Otto recognized the lack of purely anthropogenic climate change impacts on humans in the latest report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and filled the gap by discovering the true impact of anthropogenic climate change without nature’s cyclical contributions through multiple simulations. However, since climate change science is such an involved discipline, the limitations quickly revealed themselves. Dr. Fuglestvedt, while recognizing the importance of this new method, is cognizant of the political and ethical dilemmas.

These studies are defined by their parameters. Depending on the chosen start date for emissions data, or the included climate change indicators, or which part of the supply chain the researchers focus on, the national contribution attributed to another’s loss and damage is highly variable. From a basic CO2 emissions study to an all-factor inclusive study, the contribution of Annex I countries changes from 68% to 46%. To maintain objectivity in these studies, the researchers simply recommend that all reports include the entire spectrum of results, providing policy makers with the necessary data to implement appropriate action.