Global Spotlight Report #55: Loss and Damage


The concept of Loss and Damage (L&D) is a generic term defined as ‘the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to on their own or when options exist but a community does not have the resources to access them’. The term has been in vogue since formation of the UNFCCC in 1990 and gradually gained attention from Bali Climate Action Plan in 2007 onwards. It may be recalled that during COP 26 participants brought the whole idea of L&D front and centre with developing and small island nations expressing their ‘anguish’ over developed nations’ failure to provide promised financial resources of USD 100 billion and the need for a mechanism for reparation. This line of climate negotiations is expected to be pursued during COP 27 in Egypt.

In Post 55 Climate Scorecard asked our Country Managers to take stock of climate related Loss & Damage in their countries. We asked Country Managers to assess the extent of loss and damage that climate change is expected to have on their country between now and 2050; to describe the different ways in which climate change is impacting their country’s economic and social infrastructure; the steps their country is taking to help its people and communities adapt to this impact; and the extent of resources that are needed to address climate related Loss & Damage, where such resources might come from, and the prospects of procuring them.

The table below highlights the impact of Loss & Damage on leading greenhouse gas emitting countries. Full descriptive Country Reports follow.

Table: Highlights of Climate-Related Loss & Damage in Leading Greenhouse-Emitting Countries

Country Important Event
  • L&D has become a central concern for Australia’s financial stability
  • L&D has caused increases in deforestation, land invasion, and illegal mining in the Amazon
  • L&D predicted to contribute to a 6.9% decrease in the economy
  • Climate change estimated to contribute annual average of over $40 billion in Loss & Damage
European Union
  • Large social & economic losses from climate change unless there is an increase in adaptation efforts
  • Faces considerable L&D in its overseas territories as well as within its own borders
  • Climate-related heat, drought, and flooding are creating extensive L&D in many regions
  • An estimated 5 trillion USD in Loss and Damage by 2050 can be offset with stronger mitigation policies
  • L&D is critically affecting the agricultural sector
  • Reduced rainfall affecting ability of small farmers to sustain livelihoods
  • L&D prompts design of a National Adaptation Plan
  • L&D results in thawing permafrost, water stress, heat waves, and deforestation
Saudi Arabia
  • Climate-related depletion of groundwater reserves will increase water stress on vulnerable populations
South Africa
  • Severe flooding in KwaZulu-Natal Province
  • Water levels in all of Spain’s river basins will see a 20% decrease in coming decades
  • Climate change likely to result in decreased water resources and loss of agricultural productivity
United Kingdom
  • An increase in summer heatwaves, wildfires, storms and flooding
United States
  • Congressional Report details how climate change will affect peoples’ homes and livelihoods

Country Reports

An Increase in Deforestation, Fires, Land Invasion, and Illegal Mining in the Amazon

Humanity needs to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by almost half by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 if it is to stand a chance of meeting the Paris Agreement goal of stabilizing Earth’s warming at 1.5°C and avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis. As the sixth largest emitter on the planet,…

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Climate Change is a Central Concern for Australia’s Financial Stability

This post examines the loss and damage that climate change is expected to have on Australia between now and 2050. Assessments of climate change loss and damage are a key aspect of the Paris Agreement’s ongoing UNFCCC-sponsored Global Stocktake, an effort to assess the ability of the Paris Agreement to meet its goals. Loss and…

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Canada’s Economy Could Shrink by 6.9% Annually by 2050 Without More Ambitious Climate Action

Climate change loss and damages expected in Canada between now and 2050 are measurable. Most recently, a Queen’s University/Institute for Sustainable Finance report (April 2022) stated capital output lost due to physical damages under different warming scenarios by the end of the century (with 2030, 2050, and 2070 as inflection points) will grow dramatically. This…

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Climate Change Effects in China Exceed the Global Average, Leading to an Annual Average of US $40 Billion in Overall Economic Loss and Damages

China, like many countries, has been feeling the effects of climate change over the past decades in the form of an increase in extreme weather events. Some estimates say that floods, droughts, and storms are incurring direct economic losses of 25 to 37.5 billion USD per year. Other reports place that number at 1% of…

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EU Climate Change Adaptation Efforts are Pivotal in Lessening Social and Economic Losses

The consequences that climate change is expected to have on EU countries between now and 2050 are grim. While the impact of climate change is predicted to vary among regions and between seasons, the European Commission, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other institutions posit that no country in the EU will be…

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France Faces Considerable Loss and Damage within Its Own Borders and in Its Overseas Territories

The Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement (GST) is defined by the UNFCCC as “a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and its long-term goals.” The GST is an essential part of the Paris Agreement,…

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Climate Change-Related Heat, Drought, and Flooding Are Creating Extensive Loss and Damage in Many Regions of Germany

Germany is experiencing a major impact from climate change at all levels of its economy and society resulting in considerable loss and damage. This year drought has intensified and has been classified as severe, as shown in the image below of the UFZ (Helmholtz – Zentrum für Umweltforshung) monitor, which shows the state of soil…

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India’s Government Estimates that 5 Trillion USD in Loss and Damages by 2050 Could Be Offset With Stronger Mitigation Policies

Climate change is real and has been impacting communities, societies, nations, and territories in an unprecedented manner reflected not only in losses and damages to infrastructure and other such elements but also in collateral damages including lives and livelihoods, more particularly for the poor and vulnerable. India is no exception to now frequently occurring extreme…

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Climate Change Loss & Damage is Critically Affecting the Agricultural sector in Japan

In recent years, the impact of the climate crisis has been evident in Japan. According to the May 2009 report, if no action is taken, Japan’s annual cost of the climate crisis could be as high as JPY17 trillion (approximately USD 124 billion) by the end of the 21st century. This economic cost includes damages…

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Reduced Rainfall Is Affecting the Ability of Small-Scale Farmers to Sustain Their Livelihoods

This Post is focused on assessing Mexico’s climate change loss and damage, which aims to contribute to the Global Stocktake. The Paris Agreement’s ongoing UNFCCC-sponsored Global Stocktake makes an effort to assess the ability of the Agreement to meet its goals.The last few years have increased extreme weather conditions affecting Mexico. Climate change has led…

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The Nigerian Government is Designing a National Adaptation Plan

Generally, Africa has an urgent need to effectively address climate change because of its effects on the continent. According to the UNFCCC, the regions with the greatest capacity gaps in terms of climate services are Africa and the small island developing States. Due to these gaps, there is a continued need for climate change adaptation…

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Climate Change Loss and Damage Are Causing Thawing Permafrost, Water Stress, Heat Waves, and Deforestation in Russia

Global climate change has impacted the human potential, economy, and ecosystems of all countries of the world, and Russia is no exception. In the north part of the country, the most significant climate risk is the thawing permafrost which is the most acute. This carries the risk of destruction of the infrastructure located on it….

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Climate Change in Saudi Arabia Will Produce Prolonged Dry Periods, Which Will Rapidly Deplete Groundwater Reserves and Increase Water Stress On Vulnerable Populations

Saudi Arabia, like other countries in the Middle East, is vulnerable to climate extremes. The country is oftentimes subject to heavy rainfall, and in certain areas, lacks the infrastructure to divert water, resulting in flash floods, especially in the mountainous southwestern region. On the other hand, climate scenarios also predict prolonged dry periods, which will…

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South Africa is Ranked 96 out of 182 Countries in Terms of Climate Change Vulnerability and Its Preparedness to Enhance Resilience

According to Notre Dame Global Adaptation InitiativeDroughts, floods, storms, landslides, and wildfires are becoming more prevalent across the globe due to climate change. In South Africa, more than 100 natural disasters were reported from 1900 to 2017, affecting 21 million people, causing 2200 fatalities, and with an estimated loss of 4.5 billion USD. More recently,…

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Water Levels Across All of Spain’s River Basins Will See a 20% Decrease in the Coming Decades

Spain’s sweltering summer came with three abnormally extreme heat waves that occurred sooner, lasted longer, and was categorized with higher intensities compared to previous years. The unambiguous consequences of anthropogenic climate change are becoming ever more apparent. Though decarbonizing the economy should remain at the forefront of national climate policy, the reality of the Anthropocene…

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Climate Change is Expected to Result in Declines in Agriculture, Industry, and Tourism in Turkey

Changes in the climate may differ from region to region in the world. Regional changes could differ from the global trend as well. If we compare the change in temperature in Turkey with that of the globe, we can see some important differences. We find that the recent increasing temperature trends in Turkey start after…

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Climate Change is Causing an Increase in Summer Heatwaves, Wildfires, Storms, and Flooding in the UK

The Meteorological Office, also known as the Met Office, is the United Kingdom’s national weather service. The Met Office predicts that in 50 years, by 2070, winter will be 1 to 4.5 °C warmer and up to 30% wetter. Summer will be 1 to 6 °C warmer and up to 60% drier. In addition, heavy rain…

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Changing Climate Will Increase Harm to People’s Lives, Homes, and Prosperity in the US

Loss and damage are generally discussed in the international climate area in terms of developing county impacts. However, the impacts of loss and damage applied to developed countries, like the United States, also have staggering financial and non-economic implications. This discussion will explore what loss and damage has already occurred in the United States and…

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