Adaptation to climate change is an important element of the new climate agreement being negotiated in Paris (www.swissre.com/cop21). One aspect of this is how to address loss and damage associated with climate change.
Loss and damage is one area where environmental and developmental issues intersect. It covers a range of aspects: how to deal with natural catastrophes and gradual but lasting environmental changes such as melting glaciers or rising sea levels. Accordingly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to loss and damage.
Natural catastrophe risk can be minimised using integrated risk management. Swiss Re studies across the globe show that risk management does offer a cost-efficient means to prevent some 40-60% of damages by 2030 (www.swissre.com/eca). Such risk mitigation also simplifies the deployment of insurance solutions.
A rather more challenging issue is how to address gradual, long-term environmental change. It is essential therefore to contain such changes to a minimum and to cut greenhouse gas emissions sharply upfront. Yet climate-induced environmental change is already happening. In the face of this reality, the global climate talks aim to limit such change to a minimum. Sustainable development models help mitigate the impact of environmental change. The UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, unfccc.org) does play a catalyst role in these areas. Existing models and tools need to be part of any solution. In the climate talks, Switzerland is championing a nuanced approach to the matter of loss and damage, including an acknowledgement of its relevance and long-term nature in the final Paris document, and the continuation of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, which reviews measures to prevent or mitigate loss and damage associated with climate change.
Please visit also the German version at http://www.bafu.admin.ch/klima/13805/15953/16201/index.html?lang=de#sprungmarke0_4
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Disaster risk, Floods/storms, Resilience
Location: Globally, yet with utterly local consequences