There are several concepts that address how we deal with climate breakdown.  “Mitigation” refers to actions to lessen or eliminate further emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.  A good example is banning further use of fossil fuels.  “Adaptation” refers to actions to correct or adjust to effects from climate breakdown that are already beginning to affect communities.  An example is building codes that require utilities to be built higher in the structure to avoid impacts from rising water levels.



Another concept that has gotten more attention lately is that of “loss and damages,” which refers to economic measurements of permanent or inevitable impacts from climate breakdown.  It is often referred to as the costs of reconstruction, rehabilitation or relocation.  One example is the cost of relocating a neighborhood of a large urban center or an entire island because of permanent flooding from sea level rises attributable to climate breakdown.

The concept of “loss and damages” also is seen as having a climate justice dimension.  Low-income communities that have done the least to cause climate breakdown are often the ones which experience the worst of the impacts, and who do not have the financial resources to recover from the impacts.   They need help.


Some further ideas to explore on Loss and Damages

Identify the closest community that is at high risk from flooding due to climate breakdown, and determine what will be required to protect that community from further damages and losses.

Are there plans for building the infrastructure for any such protections necessary?

In your country are there public funds available to pay for the inevitable, permanent impacts from climate breakdown.



Deborah Campbell, with Aaron Krol, “Loss and Damage,” Climate Portal (15 Dec 2023).

Fiona Harvey, “ ‘Loss and damage’ deal struck to help countries worst hit by climate crisis,” The Guardian (5 Nov 2023).

Preety Bhandari, et al., “What Is “Loss and Damage” from Climate Change? 8 Key Questions, Answered,” World Resources Institute (14 Dec 2022).

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