Climate change induced natural disasters are increasing, and more than three out of four of all kinds of natural disasters are water related. Loss and damage from the water-related disasters are common, however what is uncommon is the accelerated intensity and frequency of the disasters that the world is experiencing over the last few decades. IPCC's Assessment Reports (SREX and AR5) confirms that it is virtually certain that the frequency and intensity of the natural disasters will be more intense in the coming years (IPCC, 2012, IPCC, 2014)). However, there are uncertainties associated to the magnitude, spatial and temporal scale of projection; as well as there are limits to the traditional methods, i.e., adaptation and mitigation, for managing negative impacts from climatic norms and stressors or extremes (Klein et al., 2014)). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established a work programme on loss and damage in the seventeenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), with an overall objective of minimising the loss and damage through appropriate assessment, addressing loss and damage, and identification of the role of the Convention (United Nations, 2011)). This paper assesses the global footprint of the water related (climatological, hydrological and meteorological) disasters in terms of loss and damage. It also explores deep into the global loss and damage debate for identifying the commonalities and differences of loss and damage with the conventional adaptation and mitigation approaches.
Methodology for crafting the paper can be broadly divided into two parts: assessing the footprint of the natural disasters and global loss and damage discussion.
Global dataset relevant to all the country parties as the signatories of the UNFCCC is collected from the EMDAT web source (EMDAT, 2009). A number of statistical approaches, i.e., the curve estimation technique, independent sample t-test, outlier analysis is used to clean and analysing the data for investigating whether any trend exists in the frequency of natural disasters. Next, the global damage estimates are normalised using the population, GDP and inflation using the formula proposed by (Barthel and Neumayer, 2011, Neumayer and Barthel, 2011). Both the normalised and unadjusted damage profile is considered to assess the global burden of disaster damage. A number of loss events are also examined, in terms of death tool, injury, loss of homes, and total no of the affected population.
The global loss and damage debate is explored through secondary literature review. All the relevant negotiation documents available through the UNFCCC portal is reviewed to track the progress in the negotiation process related to adaptation and mitigation. Evolution of the concept of loss and damage is carefully explored to check the validity of the hypothesis that current progress in the adaptation and mitigation processes are not sufficient in addressing the loss and damage. Loss and damage doesn't have any unanimously agreed definition, thus the paper has also attempted in clarifying 'loss' and 'damage, in general terms as well as from the perspective of the UNFCCC's negotiation window, i.e., beyond adaptation and mitigation. Finally, the possible range of loss and damage in the water sector resulting from climate change norms and stressors is summarised and a comparative analysis is conducted for identifying the commonalties and differences of loss and damage with the conventional adaptation and mitigation approaches.
Results and Discussion
Analysis results showed that the global frequency of water-related natural disasters is doubled between the period 1980-1997 and 1998-2013. It is also virtually certain and statistically significant that global worth of mean annual damage accounts more than USD 30 Billion. It is also revealed that the range of approaches addressing loss and damage differs from adaptation from two broad perspectives: when the adaptation/mitigation has limits or those procedures are not possible to undertake, and when the conventional approaches has some costs in the long terms that cant be regained (residual impact).
It is expected that outcomes from the paper contribute specificity in the loss and damage debate by providing farm evidences of the global footprint of loss and damage. However, further analysis is due for addressing non-economic and intangible loss and damage assessment and relevant mechanism to address those.
The Scottish Government Hydro Nation Scholarship funds the Ph.D. research supported by the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR) and the School of the Environment in the University of Dundee
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