Why Developed Nations Should Support Mechanisms For Financing Needed Adaptation and Loss and Damages From Climate Harms That Create Climate Change Refugees




I. Introduction

This is the first article in a two-part series that explains why developed countries should support the creation and support of mechanisms under the UNFCCC for financing climate change adaptation in developing countries and compensating for climate change induced losses and damages which create or adversely affect climate refugees. After describing the major focus of recent international negotiations on climate change, the entry will explain why developed nations should support the creation of a financing  mechanism to compensate for loss and damages from harms that have created climate change refugees or adversely affect climate refugees. The article discusses the following topics:

Part 1

II.  Climate Change at Current Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations Is Already Creating Millions of Refugees and Threatens to Cause Many Millions More. 

III. The Recent National Climate Change Policy Preoccupation with Achieving Paris Agreement Warming Limit Goals of As Close as Possible to 1.5 C but no greater than 2.0 C although Very Appropriate has taken Focus off Policy to Prevent and Deal with Refugees.

IV. The Climate Regime Fails to Adequately Deal with Harms and Damages

Part 2

V. Customary International Law On Damages and Compensation

VI. National Responsibility for Breach of the No Harm Rule

VII. The Opportunity to Act Has Long Existed

IX. Proportionate Measures Were Not Taken

XI. Why Developed Nations Should Support Increased Adaptation Funding and a Mechanism for funding Loss and Damages Related to Refugees.

Part 1

II. Climate Change Harms at Current Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations Are  Already Creating Millions of Refugees and Threatening to Cause Many Millions More. 

The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released on March 1, 2022 found:

Human-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events, has caused widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people, beyond natural climate variability. ….. Vulnerability of ecosystems and people to climate change differs substantially among and within regions (very high confidence), driven by patterns of intersecting socio-economic development, unsustainable ocean and land use, inequity, marginalization, historical and ongoing patterns of inequity such as colonialism, and governance (high confidence). Approximately 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change (high confidence). A high proportion of species is vulnerable to climate change (high confidence). Human and ecosystem vulnerability are interdependent (high confidence) (IPCC 6, 2022, Summary for Policy Makers), as global temperatures continue to rise, hundreds of millions of people could struggle against floods, deadly heat waves and water scarcity from severe drought, the report said. Mosquitoes carrying diseases like dengue and malaria will spread to new parts of the globe.  Crop failures could become more widespread, putting families in places like Africa and Asia at far greater risk of hunger and malnutrition. People unable to adapt to the enormous environmental shifts will end up suffering unavoidable loss or fleeing their homes, creating dislocation on a global scale.{IPCC 6, 2022)

Poor nations are far more exposed to climate risks than rich countries. Between 2010 and 2020, droughts, floods and storms killed 15 times as many people in highly vulnerable countries, including those in Africa and Asia, as in the wealthiest countries.(IPCC, 6 2022)

That disparity has fueled a contentious debate: “what the industrialized nations most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions owe developing countries.” Low-income nations want financial help, both to defend against future threats and to compensate for damages they can’t avoid. This issue will be a focus when governments meet for the next United Nations climate summit in Egypt in November (IPCC 6 2022).

To avert the most catastrophic impacts, nations need to quickly and sharply reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases that are dangerously heating the planet (IPCC 6, 2022).

While serving as Program Manager for UN Organizations at US EPA during the US Clinton Administration, I was invited in 1997 to participate in war games being conducted by the US Army War College about parts of the world that could raise national security threats triggered by social disruption from climate change caused destabilization. One region the Army War College identified during these war games as being a potential source of global disruption was the drought prone regions of Syria. In 2007, a climate change induced drought began in Syria which lasted to 2010 and created 1.3 million refugees who eventually destabilized large parts of Europe  (Kelly 2015: 1)

The Army War College also during this time identified three countries in central America, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as vulnerable to climate change from agricultural areas in these countries are at risk to drought.

In recent years, tens of thousands of people have fled Central American countries  because of drought and extreme weather conditions that have made it difficult to grow crops. Yet when refugees from these countries have fled to the US-Mexican border, the US press almost always has failed to connect them to climate change nor the significant US role, along with other high-emitting nations, in creating the climate change impacts which have been making agriculture difficult or forced people to migrate brcause of flooding or water scarcity. This is so despite the fact that the US is the largest national emitter of historical GHG emissions. 


Maldives, one of the small island nations threatened by rising seas

This image demonstrates that 1 meter of sea level rise will threaten 15 million in Bangladesh and 1.5 meters endangers 18 million. Sea Level Change in Bangladesh, Center for Science Education (ucar.edu)

Many small island developing states are also particularly vulnerable to rising seas.

NOAA issued a report containing ominous new predictions of expected sea level rise which should increase concern about sea-level caused migrants even if the ice sheet collapse concerns don’t happen . This report predicted 1 foot of sea level rise by 2050 and two feet and by 2100. (NOAA, 2022).

U.S. coastline to see up to a foot of sea level rise by 2050 | National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationThe 2008 Army War College report also warned that extreme weather events sometimes trigger large, unplanned population movements, and violence.

In October 2021, the US White House issued a report on climate change and migration. (US White House, 2021). This White House Report concluded that the climate crisis is reshaping our world, as the Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization as defined by changes in average weather conditions. These include changes in temperature precipitation patterns, the frequency and severity of certain weather events, and other features of the climate system. When combined with physical, social, economic, and/or environmental vulnerabilities, climate change can undermine food, water, and economic security. Secondary effects of climate change can include displacement, loss of livelihoods, weakened governments, and in some cases political instability and conflict. (US White House 2021: 4)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that an average of 21.5 million people were forcibly displaced each year by sudden onset weather-related hazards between 2008 and 2016, and thousands more from slow-onset hazards linked to climate change impacts. Hazards resulting from the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, such as abnormally heavy rainfall, prolonged droughts, desertification, environmental degradation, sea-level rise and cyclones are already causing an average of more than 20 million people to leave their homes and move to other areas in their countries each year (World Bank, 2018). Policy and programming efforts made today and in coming years will impact estimates of displaced people over the next two to three decades due in large measure to climate change impacts.(UNHCR 2021).

Among other issues related to potential US response to climate change induced migration, the US White House report listed relevant regional considerations in Africa, Asia, Central America. Middle East and North Africa, and Small Island States. (White House 2021: 14 -15).

While working as the Program Manager for United Nations Organizations for US EPA in 1997 while attending a Governing Council meeting of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) at UNEP headquarters north of Nairobi Kenya, I took some time to visit an area in Kenya about 100 miles North of Nairobi where residents were suffering from drought. This experience made me aware of the horrific conditions that make desperate people leave their homes and run the great risks entailed by abandoning one’s home and country with the hope of finding an alternative place to live and eat in the face of uncertainty.

Many countries in the Sahel region in Africa, (the red area in the following image) are vulnerable to drought and have already created huge numbers of refugees many of whom have destabilized some European countries along with the Syrian refugees .

The UN Commissioner on Human Rights said :

Ninety percent of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate, and 70 percent of people displaced within their home countries by conflict and violence, come from countries on the front lines of the climate emergency.

They are vulnerable not only to extreme weather like floods or cyclones, but also to seeing their livelihoods dry up due to drought and desertification.

From Burkina Faso to Bangladesh, and from Afghanistan to Mozambique, climate change is increasing poverty, instability and human movement; it is fueling tensions and competition over dwindling resources.

(UNHCR, Climate Change is an Emergency for Everyone, Everywhere, 2021)

III. Although the Current Major Policy Preoccupation of Most Nations Has Been on Achieving the Paris Agreement’s Warming Limit Goals of As Close as Possible to 1.5 C but no greater than 2.0 C is Very Appropriate, Unfortunately this has taken Attention off Policies for Responding to Challenges from Swelling Numbers of Climate Refugees.

 The major climate policy preoccupation of the international community has been limiting warming to the 1.5 C to 2.0 C warming limit goals established in the Paris Agreement. This is understandable because warming in excess of these amounts can trigger catastrophic warming capable of leading to mass extinctions such as those that have been experienced at least five times in Earth’s history.


Rotary Club of Castro Velley. Climate Change: The Sixth Mass Extinction (castrovalleyrotary.org)

The recent international focus on policies needed to limit warming to no more than 2 C is also warranted because the international community is running out of time to prevent catastrophic warming that becomes much more likely if global temperature rise is more than 2.0 C above pre-industrial levels. The parties to the recent 2022 Glasgow UN COP climate negotiations explicitly reaffirmed in October 2021 the Paris Agreement temperature goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. (UNFCCC, COP 26, 2021: par 20)

The paper begins by describing climate change harms that threaten the international community with a special focus on harms that are creating millions of climate change refugees. The paper will use the term “refugees” to apply to all climate induced displaced persons although under international law, the term “refugee” does not connote all displaced persons, but only those who flee their nation because of fear of persecution or violence. A “refugee” is defined as a person who has crossed an international border “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion” (1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees). In some contexts, the definition extends to persons fleeing “events seriously disturbing public order.” (1969 OAU Convention 1984 Cartagena Declaration).

Climate change affects people inside a nation’s own borders and typically creates internal displacement before it reaches a level where it displaces people across borders. However, there may be situations where the refugee criteria of the 1951 Convention or the broader refugee criteria of regional refugee law frameworks could apply. People may have a valid claim for refugee status, for example, where the adverse effects of climate change interact with armed conflict and violence.

Climate change harms have created and will continue to adversely affect refugees around the world. These harms include sea level rise, glacial melting, changes in precipitation which cause flooding and drought, famine caused by drought, storm damage from extreme weather events, unbearable heat waves, wildfires, increases in the intensity of tropical storms, increases in tropical diseases, the  degradation of ecological systems including plants and animals on which people and animals depend, and the melting of ice masses which affect water supplies.

The current CO2 atmospheric concentration of approximately 419 ppm is lower than levels that existed during times which GHG levels triggered mass extinctions. In the following chart, the atmospheric CO2 concentrations which likely were responsible for or affected the severity of the extinction events are indicated by the red dots to coincide with notable extinction events. https://skepticalscience.com/co2-higher-in-past.htm

Although current CO2 atmospheric concentrations are lower than levels that triggered catastrophic warming in Earth’s history, there are tipping points in the Earth’s system that if destabilized could dangerously accelerate the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations by destabilizing other tipping points and accelerate warming.

(Stockholm Resilience Center)

The destabilization of some tipping points may potentially lead to ominous consequences caused by further destabilization of other tipping points creating a domino effect until atmosphere concentrations are at levels that previously caused mass extinctions. (Business Insider, 2020)

Several of these tipping points are now showing early signs of destabilization making needed reductions even more urgent.

Greenland Ice Sheet

For instance, a report of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2021 concluded the Western Greenland ice sheet is showing signs of tipping. (PNAS, 2021)




The Greenland ice sheet contains enough water to raise global sea levels by over 20 feet and its melting is accelerating. From 1992 to 2018, it lost close to four trillion tons of ice. While its disintegration is not likely to be abrupt, there could come a point beyond which its eventual collapse is irreversible. In fact, a recent study found that the accelerating retreat and thinning of Greenland’s glaciers that began 20 years ago is speeding the ice sheet toward total meltdown. One recent study concluded that glaciers on the island have shrunk so much, that even if global warming were to stop today, the ice sheet would continue shrinking. (Morgan McFall-Johnson, 2020). In other words, eventual complete Greenland melting is now likely beyond the point of no return.

West Antarctic Ice Sheet

The Thwaites Glacier on West Antarctica’s Amundsen Sea has lost a trillion tons of ice since the early 2000s, and some scientists believe it could be headed for an irreversible collapse, which could threaten a large part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet [WAIS) and raise global sea levels by two feet or more.

Another new study found that if the WAIS melted, it could raise sea levels three feet more than previous projections of 10.5 feet. (Harvard, 2022)

If all the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets melt, sea level will rise by 186 feet. Englander


Atlantic Meridonal Overturning Circulation (AMOC)


The AMOC is one of the main global ocean currents and is critical to regulating climate. Cold salty water, which is dense and heavy, sinks deep into the ocean in the North Atlantic, and moves along the bottom until it rises to the surface near the equator, usually in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. But as glaciers and ice sheets melt, they add fresh, less dense water to the North Atlantic, which prevents the water from sinking and impedes circulation. This may be why AMOC has slowed 15 percent since the 1950s. A recent study found that the AMOC is in its weakest state in 1,000 years. Moreover, the latest climate models project that continued global warming could weaken the AMOC by 34 to 45 percent by 2100. (Cesar, 2022)

Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rain forest, the world’s largest tropical rain forest, stores 200 billion tons of carbon—equal to about five years of global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels—and is home to millions of species of plants and wildlife. The moisture from the Amazon’s rainfall returns to the atmosphere from the soil through evaporation and from plants through transpiration The Amazon along with Boreal forests which are also degrading are carbon sinks which naturally remove atmospheric carbon. Their demise threaten to seed up warming.

If 20-25 percent of the Amazon were deforested, its tipping point could be crossed, according to one study. (Lovejoy, Nobre, 2018) Fewer trees would mean less evapotranspiration, and without enough rainfall to sustain itself, the Amazon could start to die back. In other words, parts of the rainforest could transition into a savanna, a drier ecosystem characterized by grasslands and few trees. In the process, it would potentially release 90 gigatons of CO2, exacerbating climate change. Crossing this tipping point would also result in the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, affect global weather patterns, and threaten the lives of 30 million people, including many indigenous, who depend on the rainforest to survive. One study found that dieback would occur if we reach 3°C of warming. Recent studies show worrisome signs of Amazon degradation. (Lovejoy, Nobre, 2018)

The Amazon is already feeling the effects of climate change, as over the last century, temperatures in the region have increased 1°C to 1.5°C.  The Amazon is experiencing longer and hotter dry seasons that make it more vulnerable to wildfires, reduced evapotranspiration in response to higher levels of CO2, and there are now more drought-tolerant tree species. (Lovejoy, Nobre, 2018)

Scientists are unsure whether the Amazon has a single overall tipping point, or when exactly it might be reached, and whether the ecosystem has some ability to adapt to changing conditions. But fires and drought could cause local changes that spread drying conditions to other regions because of an overall reduction of moisture. Twenty-eight percent of the eastern part of the Amazon is already losing more carbon than it is absorbing due to deforestation. And some climate models predict that by 2035, the Amazon will be a permanent source of carbon. (Lovejoy, Nobre, 2018)

Thawing permafrost

Permafrost is ground that remains frozen for two or more consecutive years and is composed of rock, soil, sediments, and ice. Some permafrost has been frozen for tens or hundreds of thousands of years. It is found in northern hemisphere lands without glaciers, including parts of Siberia, Alaska, northern Canada and Tibet. In the Southern Hemisphere, there is permafrost in parts of Patagonia, Antarctica and the Southern Alps of New Zealand. (Resnick, B., 2019) Fourteen hundred billion tons of carbon are thought to be frozen in the Arctic’s permafrost, which is twice as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere. But the Arctic is warming two times faster than the rest of the planet—it has already warmed 2°C above pre-industrial levels. As it warms and thaws the permafrost, microbes come out of hibernation and break down the organic carbon in the soil, releasing CO2 and methane, which then trigger even more warming and melting. The 2019 Arctic Report Card from NOAA found that the Arctic’s thawing permafrost could be releasing 300 to 600 million tons of carbon per year into the atmosphere. (NOAA, 2019)

Methane stored in ice-like formations called hydrates are also found in permafrost in ocean sediments. This methane may be released as hydrates are thawed by warming seawater. Scientists recently discovered methane leaking from a giant ancient reservoir of methane below the permafrost of the Laptev Sea in the East Siberian Arctic Ocean.

Scientists don’t know exactly how much carbon could ultimately be released by thawing permafrost or when. According to one report, 2°C of warming could mean the loss of 40 percent of the world’s permafrost. (NOAA, 2019 }



El Niño and La Niña are the warm and cool, naturally occurring weather patterns across the tropical Pacific—the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. Every two to seven years, the pattern alternates, bringing disruptions in temperature and precipitation. El Niño causes impacts around the world, such as more drought in India, Indonesia and Brazil, and flooding in Peru. As the ocean warms, it could push ENSO past a tipping point, which would make El Niño events more severe and frequent and could increase drought in the Amazon.

Under the 1992 UNFCCC treaty, nations agreed that:

Nations have duties to adopt policies to prevent dangerous climate change and to take steps toward stabilization of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system (UNFCCC,1992: Art 2).

Although nations agreed they had a duty to prevent dangerous climate change in 1992, despite almost two decades of efforts to further define a nation’s responsibility, no progress was made on defining “dangerous” until the 2015 until the 2015 Paris Agreement when nations agreed that they have a duty to:

  •  Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below
    2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature
    increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would
    significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;
    (b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate
    change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions
    development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; and
    (c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low
    greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
    This Agreement will be implemented to reflect equity and the principle of
    common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light
    of different national circumstances. (UN Paris Agreement, 2015, Art 2).

The world has already exceeded 1.1C warming as of the recently concluded UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland and is on a pathway to exceed 1.8°C by 2100 if all commitments made thus far are achieved thus exceeding the 1.5°C warming limit goal. To limit warming to 2.0 C, developed nations will need to take the requirement that they base  their national emissions reductions target calculations on “equity” seriously. Although in my experience most climate scientists and environmental NGOs have no understanding of how to apply  “equity” to their GHG emissions reduction target calculations . Moreover, without an understanding of reasonable interpretations of “equity,” proponents of climate change strategies are unable to respond effectively to the inevitable predictable false claims of opponents of climate policies about what is fair.

Notice this chart shows the GHG emissions reduction needed for the whole world to have any hope of achieving the Paris Agreement warming limit goal of 2 C is depicted by the top line. You can see if the high emitting nations don’t reduce their GHG emissions to levels required of them by equity, the low emitting developing nations must go to zero immediately if the world has any hope of achieving the 2C warming limit goal. And so developed nations must determine its GHG emissions reduction target by adjusting the emissions reduction amount needed of the entire world by a serious consideration of equity. This means that if the entire world must reach net zero by 2075 for instance, to achieve the 2.0 C warming limit goal, developed nations after taking equity into consideration may need to reduce CO2 emissions by -125% or more  by 2075. Few US environmental NGOs in my experience nor academics engaged in climate issues have made recommendations on the US Nationally Determined Commitments, the term for national reductions under the UNFCCC, after adjusting globally needed emissions reductions on the basis of a reasonable interpretation of “equity.” Although reasonable people may disagree on what equity expressly requires of a nation to reduce its GHG emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said its 5th Assessment report that despite some ambiguity about what equity means:

There is a basic set of shared ethical premises and precedents that apply to the climate problem that can facilitate impartial reasoning that can help put bounds on plausible interpretations of ‘equity’ in the burden-sharing context. Even in the absence of a formal, globally agreed burden sharing such are important in expectations of what may be reasonably required of different actors (IPCC, 2014, AR5, WGIII, Ch.4. pg 317).

The IPCC went on to say that;

(T)hese equity principles can be understood to comprise four key dimensions: responsibility, capacity, equality, and the right to sustainable development (IPCC, 2014, AR5, WGIII, Ch.4, pg 317).


Responsibility is understood to mean historical responsibility for the current problem not emissions levels at any one time.  The above images depict the fact that although China is now a much larger emitter of CO2 in regard to tons per year, {the left image}, the United States is a much larger in historical emitter depicted by the right image.

This image depicts the fact that the US has higher per capita emissions than China thus the US as a matter of equity the US should make larger percentage emissions reductions as a matter of equity.

For the last several decades when proponents of climate action proposed serious greenhouse gas reduction goals and strategies, opponents of climate action frequently have claimed that such action would be unfair to the United States as long as countries such as China don’t do the same or more. Rarely has anyone among US climate activists responded by saying the amount national greenhouse gas emissions at any time is not a valid criteria for determining a nation’s reduction responsibility under the concept of “equity,”

Making matters worse, when respected climate scientists are asked whether the world has enough time to deal with harms of climate change, they usually claim we do if we act aggressively. But this answer is usually in response to the question of whether we have enough time to achieve the Paris Agreement warming limit goal of 2.0 C. The atmospheric concentrations which are already causing refugees are existing concentrations. In this writer’s experience, few climate activists seem to understand that CO2 has features that are different than other air polluting substances that have profound policy implications. CO2 mixes well in the atmosphere and is very long lived. Although approximately 80% of CO2 emissions are removed by carbon sinks in 100 years, some stay in the atmosphere for tens of thousands of years contributing to climate change harms everywhere for a very long time. The following image depicts the reality that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 rise as CO2 emissions rise. The policy implication of this fact is that all CO2 emissions are making the problem worse and just some reductions of emissions levels will not stop ice from melting, dangerous killer storms from occurring or, other effects of the climate system from creating harms and damages to the global system even if  global CO2 emissions are decreasing at rates necessary achieve the 1.5 C and 2.0C warming limit goals.

Notice as GHG emissions from around the world rise, atmospheric concentrations glob rise globally thereby increasing harms everywhere. Therefore the response by some scientists that “we have time” may be slightly misleading although accurate in regard to keeping the world below the 2.0  warming limit goal of the Paris Agreement but not for reducing atmospheric concentrations which are causing loss and damages,

For a discussion of this phenomenon, see Seven Features That Citizens and The Media Need to Understand To Critically Evaluate Their Nation’s Response to Climate Change https://ethicsandclimate.org/2020/08/19/why-getting-nations-to-comply-with-ethical/

The focus of policy discourse on actions necessary to stay within the Paris Agreement’s warming limit goals has resulted in little public attention to the reality that all GHG emissions raise atmospheric CO2 concentrations with increasing harms and damages. Although the international community has acknowledged that the global GHG emissions must reach net zero within the next few decades to achieve the Paris Agreement’s warming limit goals, rarely has the public conversation about climate change recognized that national GHG emissions must reach net zero as soon as possible to reduce the creation of additional harms and damages.

IV. The Climate Regime Fails to Adequately Deal with Financing for Adaptation nor  Harms and Damages that Create or Affect Refugees.

At COP 26 in Glasgow which concluded in November of 2021, all developed nations agreed that  in 2009 to provide $100 billion a year to support adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries, yet they have failed to deliver event  Therefore, developed nations agreed in Glasgow last year to fully deliver on the USD 100 billion goal and provide more transparency on their adaptation pledges.

Although all nations agreed under the 1992 UNFCCC that they had duties to prevent activities within their jurisdiction from harming others outside their jurisdiction, the international community has not developed a mechanism for operationalizing the “no harm” rule despite pressure from developing countries to do so for many years.

Yet COP 26 in Glasgow has finally put loss and damages on the international negotiating agenda. Although an organization for considering loss and damages called the Santiago network was created at COP 25 in Madrid 2021 to discuss issues relevant to loss and damages, not much was done until Glasgow when nations agreed the international community agreed in the Glasgow decision:

Reiterates the urgency of scaling up action and support, as appropriate, including
finance, technology transfer and capacity-building, for implementing approaches for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change in developing country Parties that are particularly vulnerable to these effects;

Urges developed country Parties, the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism, United Nations entities and intergovernmental organizations and other bilateral and multilateral institutions, including non-governmental organizations and private sources, to provide enhanced and additional support for activities addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change. (Glasgow, COP 26 Decision)

And so, the Glasgow COP put loss and damages expressly on the international climate negotiating agenda. Yet no decision has yet been made to create a mechanism on loss and damages nor on numerous difficult issues that loss and damages considerations will raise.

The second part of this series will be published soon and will deal with the following topics.

V. National Responsibility for Breach of No Harm Rule

VI. The Opportunity to Act Has Long Existed

VII. States Should Have Foreseen Damages That Are Creating Refugees

VIII. Why Developed Nations Should Support Increased Adaptation Funding and Mechanism for Loss and Damages Related to Refugees.


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Donald A. Brown

Scholar in Residence, Sustainability Ethics and Law

Winner of UNESCO Prize for Excellence in Ethics in Science

Widener University Commonwealth Law School


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