More than 300 civil society organisations - including Climate Action Network, ActionAid International, Amnesty International, Greenpeace (global), WWF, 350.org, ITUC and PACJA - have sent an open letter to COP26 President Alok Sharma and world leaders demanding that COP26 urgently commits to deliver finance on Loss and Damage.
Loss and damage refers to unavoidable impacts of climate change that cannot be averted or minimised through adaptation and mitigation activities. The poorest and most vulnerable countries and communities least responsible for climate change are already facing the majority of its negative impacts, the letter says.
The signatories, representing rights groups, humanitarian and development, faith-based organisations, youth groups, Indigenous People’s groups and trade unions, from across the world are calling for finance for climate damages.
The letter underscores that the scale of finance must be commensurate to the needs of the most impacted countries and communities to help them recover and rebuild from severe climate impacts such as floods, storms, and sea-level rise.
The letter comes as new research by the Stockholm Environment Institute due to be launched tomorrow (27 October) and several briefing papers published by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung foundation show how finance for loss and damage finance can be sourced, institutionalised and delivered.
The call for additional finance is distinct to, but sits amongst the backdrop of wealthy nations’ failure to deliver $100 billion to help poorer countries adapt to climate change and mitigate against further temperature increases. The letter stresses that finance for addressing Loss and Damage remains lacking with support to impacted communities coming only from grossly insufficient humanitarian aid.
Alpha Kaloga, Negotiator for the African Group of Negotiators and member of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism, says:
“If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the magic money tree does exist, but is only shaken for lives that are valued. If we can mobilise trillions of dollars to alleviate the burden of the pandemic, then we must do the same for Global South communities already suffering from climate damages, who are more vulnerable than ever due to the crippling economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
"If we are going to take the global effort to address climate change seriously, then we must stop reaching for targets that are politically acceptable for developed countries, like the promised $100 billion USD, but instead meet the scale of the needs of vulnerable developing countries and the most vulnerable people and communities within them, which means mobilising $1.3 trillion USD a year by 2030 towards mitigation, adaptation and efforts to address loss and damage.”
Erin Roberts, Coordinator, Loss and Damage Collaboration, says:
"Efforts to mobilise action and support for Loss and Damage has been woefully inadequate so far and nowhere near the scale of the needs. The urgency of addressing climate change on all fronts - through mitigation, scaled up adaptation and support to address loss and damage - is painstakingly clear. Dozens of constituencies worldwide have declared climate emergencies; whilst the latest findings from the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report spotlight the way in which climate change is manifesting in devastating losses and damages all over the globe.
"The need for action to be truly aligned with what the science is telling us is indisputable; channeling it to where it is needed most - to the poorest and most vulnerable communities on the frontline of the emergency - is a must. We do not need to wait for a new, and distant finance goal to come into effect from 2025 to act. We could mobilise hundreds of billions tomorrow if we decided to, that much the pandemic has shown us is true - we just need the political will to do so."
Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network, says :
"The reality is that while countries are not ambitious and urgent in their plans to reduce emissions and keep 1.5 degrees in reach and deliver on finance, we will continue to experience devastating and deadly climate impacts. Climate impacts are making headlines around the world. But while every part of the world is being hit by the climate crisis, poor and vulnerable communities least responsible for the climate crisis, particularly in the Global South, are least equipped to cope with irreversible losses and damages. In order to repair this injustice and hold polluters accountable we need an honest, high-level and concrete plan to pay for climate damages. This will be a litmus test of the success of COP26."
Ineza Umuhoza Grace, Co-founder and Co-director, Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, says:
“Loss and Damage Finance is neither a charity nor a development fund for vulnerable countries and communities, it is a path to ensure that we have a future. It is already unfair that the Global south community are at the frontline of climate change impacts - we did less in contribution and yet we have no tangible financial support to address loss and damage. History knows who broke the harmony of our planet, we are claiming and demanding climate justice for all.”
Tetet Nera-Lauron, Senior Climate Lead at ActionAid International, says:
“Women and girls, and their communities in the Global South, are hit hardest by the impacts of a crisis they did least to cause. As millions more families are forced to flee after losing everything to climate disasters, governments must put the issue of loss and damage finance on the table at COP26. Access to funding to enable vulnerable communities to survive and rebuild after climate disasters and slow onset events, is beyond urgent.”
David Hillman, Director of the Make Polluters Pay Campaign, says:
“Country pledges to drastically cut greenhouse gases are vital but COP26 needs to make marked progress in other crucial areas, too. The desperate plight of people in developing countries losing their lives and livelihoods to superstorms and floods has for far too long been ignored by rich countries, whose industrial past is the principal cause of the climate emergency.
“For COP26 to be judged a success, finance for communities suffering loss and damage needs to be agreed once and for all. Surely, it is only fair that wealthier countries and the fossil fuel industry should foot the bill given their record of massive carbon production and use, which created the age of serial climate catastrophes that millions are now struggling to cope with.”
Christoph Bals, Policy Director of Germanwatch, says:
“COP 26 must ensure that the most vulnerable people and communities worldwide are financially supported in dealing with loss and damage. Adequate and needs-based funding should be provided - based on responsibility and capability - by both developed countries but also by richer and highly emitting emerging economies in realizing a human rights approach which puts the most vulnerable and marginalized people into the center.”
Notes to editors:
Read the open letter and list of signatories in full here.
The letter was authored by the Loss & Damage Collaboration (L&DC), Loss & Damage Youth Coalition (LDYC) and Climate Action Network (CAN), in partnership with Stamp Out Poverty, ActionAid, Practical Action and Germanwatch, with the scientific input of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).