Loss and damage (L&D) is the poster child for climate injustice. The inevitable outcome of rampant neoliberal capitalism built on a system of making profits by exploiting the natural world and increasing inequality. L&D is the ‘externality’ of fossil fuels and other polluting industries visited upon the people and communities who have done the least to cause climate change.
Those with the least power and the least resources are the worst impacted. This, of course, means that communities made vulnerable due to gender, sexuality, race, class, age, legal status and other intersections, are in the worst position to deal with the impact, and the little they have is further eroded by loss and damage, more firmly entrenching their inequality. Those dealing with L&D are desperately in need of international solidarity. Meanwhile rich countries have denied the very existence of loss and damage, arguing that having your community destroyed in a climate fueled storm, your farmland turned into desert or your home inundated with sea level rise can somehow be covered by ‘adaptation’, and they have resisted all calls for compensation.
Loss and damage has been a long running and deeply unfair battle, with island countries and least developed countries calling for climate justice on one side, and the most powerful, polluting countries denying their responsibility for paying for the climate damage on the other. A feature of the climate negotiations since the beginning, a half decade of intense negotiations may be on the final stretch to address some of this injustice