Options for Adaptation and Loss and Damage in a 2015 Climate Agreement

The Agreement on Climate Transformation 2015 (ACT 2015) is a consortium of the world’s top climate experts from developing and developed countries that have come together to "catalyze discussion and build momentum toward reaching a global climate agreement at the forthcoming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) summit in 2015." This report shares ACT 2015’s research on key elements of the 2015 climate agreement. The paper explores some of the primary issues relating to climate adaptation, incorporating loss and damage (L&D), and outlines options for addressing them in the 2015 agreement. 

The paper begins with a short account of the current status of adaptation and L&D in the UNFCCC. It then goes on to identify and discuss some of the more controversial issues that complicate adaptation and L&D negotiations coming into a 2015 climate agreement. These include:

(i) whether adaptation should be a central element of the new agreement or part of a larger package of decisions;

(ii) the desirability or otherwise of a global adaptation goal and whether/how such a goal should be linked to different levels of mitigation ambition/temperature rise;

(iii) the scope of adaptation activities and the role of the UNFCCC in relation to such activities; and

(iv) whether or not adaptation and L&D should be combined under one governance arrangement. 


The report describes the significance of incorporating loss and damage into climate planning considerations. “Traditionally, L&D was described as the “residual” impacts of climate change, which mitigation and adaptation could not prevent. However, it has become clear that the mitigation-adaptation-loss and damage relationship is inherently broader and more complex. Like many elements of climate change, loss and damage exists on a spectrum, where impacts may be experienced immediately and/or over time, as singular or multiple events, and with temporary and permanent implications.”

The paper also discusses a number of cross-cutting issues that have serious implications for adaptation and L&D. These include: finance, equity, capacity building, technology transfer, and Measurement Reporting and Verification (MRV).

Part 3 of the report, “Key Issues and Options for Adaptation” begins with a section on integrating mitigation, adaptation and L&D.  Multiple options are provided here within each strategic category.  A good example, Option 2, states:

A “minimalist” option would be to grant high-level recognition to the interplay between the three aspects of the climate policy in the new agreement, but without seeking institutional and practical integration among them.

Part 3 continues by discussing the integration of adaptation in the 2015 agreement, and looks at the issue of a global goal on adaptation:  

3.2 Place of Adaptation in the New Agreement

3.3 A Global Goal on Adaptation

3.4. The Scope of Adaptation Activities and the role of the UNFCCC

3.5 Nature, Role, and Modalities for NAPs

(National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) are expected to become the central means by which countries will integrate their climate change adaptation planning and action in a coherent way to build resilience and reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.)

3.6 Institutional Options for Governing Adaptation

The paper draws some broad conclusions, and suggests that “…it is desirable that the 2015 climate agreement should not only strive to recognize the intimate connections between mitigation, adaptation and L&D, but should also promote a more holistic approach that adequately reinforces the interplay among the three issues.”





Publication Date: November 2014

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Chukwumerije Okereke
  • Prajwal Baral
  • Yamide Dagnet

Related Organizations:

  • Agreement on Climate Transformation 2015 (ACT 2015)

Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Legal Analysis
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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