Sustainable Development assumptions determine how Loss and Damage from Climate Change is addressed
preprintposted on 01.09.2020, 19:38 by Chad Boda, Turaj Faran, Murray Scown, Kelly Dorkenoo, Brian Chaffin, Maryam Nastar, Emily Boyd
Loss and Damage from climate change, recognized as a unique research and policy domain through the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) in 2013, has drawn increasing attention among climate scientists and policy makers. As the “third pillar” of the international climate regime—along with mitigation and adaptation—some have suggested that Loss and Damage has the potential to catalyze important synergies with other international agendas, particularly sustainable development. However, the specific approaches to sustainable development that inform Loss and Damage research and how these approaches influence research outcomes and policy recommendations, remains largely unexplored. We offer the first systematic analysis of the assumptions of sustainable development that underpin Loss and Damage scholarship through a comprehensive review of peer-reviewed research on Loss and Damage. We demonstrate that the use of specific metrics, decision criteria and policy prescriptions by Loss and Damage researchers and practitioners imply an unwitting adherence to different underlying theories of sustainable development, which in turn impact how Loss & Damage is conceptualized and applied. In addition to research and policy implications, overarching conclusions of the review include: 1) that assumptions about the aims of sustainable development determine how one conceptualizes, measures and governs Loss and Damage and; 2) that the Human Development approach represents the most advanced perspective on sustainable development, and thus Loss and Damage, currently available. This review supports sustainable development as a truly coherent, comprehensive and integrative framework for Loss and Damage.