Re-conceptualising climate change-driven loss and damage

Daniel Puig

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In intergovernmental climate-change negotiations, the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided through adaptation measures are referred to as loss and damage. To date, there is no commonly agreed definition of the phrase loss and damage. Notwithstanding, it is clear that in a primary or subordinate manner, depending on ones understanding of what loss and damage entails loss and damage is concerned with some of the most costly consequences of global warming. Mainly for this reason, intergovernmental negotiations about loss and damage have made relatively slow progress since the establishment in 2013 of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, the negotiating forum on this matter under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Scholarship on loss and damage has helped characterize the scope of loss and damage. The article reviews this scholarship, to explore the potential impact of separating loss and damage, both in the context of research and policy. A key result presented in the article is that treating loss and damage separately would be most beneficial with regard to loss, in that the political hurdles that currently mar the loss-and-damage debate mainly derive from disagreement over financing responsibilities with regard to damages, which unduly slow progress on the urgent task of understanding how to manage loss. In this context, the article provides elements for separate definitions of loss and damage, and suggests a possible categorization of loss-and-damage scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Global Warming
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Residual climate-change impacts
  • Limits to climate-change adaptation
  • Climate change-driven loss and damage
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Warsaw International Mechanism
  • Soft and hard adaptation limits
  • Climate justice
  • Climate finance
  • Paris Agreement
  • Event attribution


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