What is Loss and Damage?
Tropical cyclone Sitrang hit Bangladesh in October 2022. According to a Christian Aid report, more than 35 people lost their lives, thousands of homes were destroyed, more than 6000 hectares of farmland flooded, and more than 2 million people were affected (p18).
Bangladesh faces increasingly severe cyclones and flooding fuelled by climate change. Tropical cyclone Sitrang is just one example of climate induced loss and damage which is affecting communities around the world.
Loss and damage is the devastating harm to people, their property and their infrastructure from the extreme weather events caused by climate change. Losses can never be replaced and include when innocent lives are lost, damage such as to infrastructure can be repaired but at a cost normally to local people. Loss and damage is happening now to communities around the world but it is more acutely felt in countries in the Global South. You can hear stories of loss and damage and the impact on people’s lives here.
Why we need Scottish campaigners to act
Historically industrialised nations, including Scotland, have contributed the most to increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Today heavily polluting industries, such as fossil fuel companies, continue to profit while literally fuelling the crisis. Meanwhile those least responsible for the climate crisis are hit the hardest by climate change and are currently left paying for damages. It is a matter of justice that polluters should pay for the loss and damage that they have been causing through many decades of pollution.
There is a lack of awareness amongst the public about what loss and damage is, while more action is needed to ensure that policymakers make it a priority. We want people across Scotland to raise their voices and show those in power that they care. That means we need you to contact a local politician or organise a community event. We must keep loss and damage firmly on the agenda.
Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister announced £2 million of funding at the United Nations COP26 conference in Glasgow which has been distributed through the Climate Justice Fund to countries such as Malawi and Bangladesh.
You can read more about how this money has been spent here. Another £5 million was pledged last year at the United Nations COP27 conference but the Scottish Government has not yet delivered this funding to communities.
In addition, in September 2023, Humza Yousaf as First Minister announced an additional £1 million of loss and damage funding through Scotland’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund, in recognition that climate change is increasingly driving humanitarian emergencies abroad.
The Scottish Government also provides broader climate finance funding through the £36 million Climate Justice Fund pledged for this parliament. The First Minister recently announced that £24 million of this money will be spent through a scheme called Climate Just Communities.
Contacting your MSPs
You can write a letter to your MSPs about loss and damage, you can also arrange to meet them.
You are represented by 8 MSPs: a constituency MSP and 7 regional MSPs. You could contact all of them, and you can find out who your MSPs are here.
Points to raise with your MSP:
- Acknowledge the funding that the Scottish Government has already provided on loss and damage. However, highlight that while the funding is welcome, loss and damage is expected to cost countries in the Global South between $290bn and $580bn a year by 2030 (p349), with Scotland’s fair share of this estimated to be £1.15-2.5 billion (p20).
- Ask your MSPs to sign the Global Parliamentarians Pledge on loss and damage to send a clear message to the United Nations COP28 conference later in the year that politicians across the world are committed to action.
UK and international context
This fund is not yet in use with ongoing discussions about how it will work. It needs to be the wealthier countries and companies with the greatest emissions paying into the fund. The finances from the fund then need to be accessible to the less wealthy countries to help them to pay for and recover from climate induced loss and damage.
We need policymakers from Scotland and the UK attending this year’s international conference (COP28) to take a strong stance that this fund needs to be working as soon as possible.
The UK Government can do this through their role on the transitional committee and by committing to the make polluters pay principle for UK funding. This includes that the UK’s biggest polluters will have to contribute substantially to the fund.
Scotland can champion the principles of the fund and argue for the need for it based on their experience providing loss and damage finance. In May 2023 Christian Aid proposed in a report where the UK could source this money from.
Scotland can champion the principles of the fund and argue for the need for it based on their experience providing loss and damage finance.
Contacting your MP
You can write to your MP or arrange a meeting to discuss loss and damage and the UK Government’s engagement in COP28. Christian Aid has UK-wide climate justice resources including a briefing that you can provide to your MP and a template letter for inviting your MP to a meeting. There is also advice on letter structure, arranging meetings and following up/responding to MPs (relevant for MSPs too).
COP28 Global Day of Action events and resources
Join us in Edinburgh on Saturday 9 December at 12.30pm, to take part in Scotland United for Action; an event being coordinated by organisations in Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, including Christian Aid.
There will be inspiring speakers, the opportunity to send a message to Scottish party leaders with your wishes for climate / nature action in 2024, kid’s activities, and more! Bring your climate justice placard, wrap up, and bring an umbrella in case it rains!
For inspiration for creating a placard, check out the Christian Aid Prayers and Placards resource. You can also sign up for the Christian Aid webinar entitled Decolonising Climate Conversations on Wednesday 29 November.
We are happy to help or answer any questions you have. You can contact Lucy le Roux our Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator at 0131 220 1254 or email@example.com
You can also download this briefing as a PDF here.