Loss and damage in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (Working Group II): a text-mining analysis

van der Geest, Kees and Warner, Koko, (2020). Loss and damage in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (Working Group II): a text-mining analysis. Climate Policy, 20(6), 729-742

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author van der Geest, Kees
    Warner, Koko
    Title Loss and damage in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (Working Group II): a text-mining analysis
    Appearing in Climate Policy
    Volume 20
    Issue No. 6
    Publication Date 2020-06
    Place of Publication Abingdon-on-Thames
    Publisher Taylor & Francis Group
    Start page 729
    End page 742
    Language eng
    Abstract ‘Losses and damages’ refer to impacts of climate change that have not been, or cannot be, avoided through mitigation and adaptation efforts. After the establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM), Loss and Damage is now considered the third pillar – besides mitigation and adaptation – of climate action under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This paper studies what the Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC WGII AR5) has to say about this emerging topic. We use qualitative data analysis software (text mining) to assess which climatic stressors, impact sectors and regions the report primarily associates with losses and damages, and compare this with the focus areas of the WIM. The study reveals that IPCC WGII AR5 primarily associates losses and damages with extreme weather events and economic impacts, and treats it primarily as a future risk. Present-day losses and damages from slow-onset processes and non-economic losses receive much less attention. Also, surprisingly, AR5 has more to say about losses and damages in high-income regions than in regions that are most at risk, such as small island states and least developed countries. The paper concludes with recommendations to the IPCC for its 6th Assessment Report (AR6) to include more evidence on losses and damages from slow-onset processes, non-economic losses and damages and losses and damages in vulnerable countries. Key policy insights: IPCC WGII AR5 discusses evidence about losses and damages predominantly in relation to sudden-onset disasters and economic costs. More research is needed on losses and damages from slow-onset processes and non-economic loss and damage, particularly in vulnerable countries in the Global South. Funding agencies should support research in these areas and IPCC WGII AR6 should pay more attention to these topics. Losses and damages are not only a future risk, but already a present-day reality for vulnerable people in climate hotspots. People-centred research by social scientists is crucial for enhancing understanding of what losses and damages mean in the real world.
    Keyword Loss and damage
    Adaptation limits and constraints
    Copyright Holder Taylor & Francis Group
    Copyright Year 2019
    Copyright type Creative commons
    DOI 10.1080/14693062.2019.1704678
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    Created: Fri, 10 Jan 2020, 00:50:48 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS