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What is ‘loss and damage’ and how is it informed by climate science?

Advances in attribution science mean we can pin the blame for extreme weather on polluting nations, making the argument for climate reparations impossible to ignore

Environment | Analysis 14 November 2022

People walking through floodwater

Flooding in Jacobabad, Pakistan, in September, after heavy rain that was linked to climate change

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

It has been more than two decades since the issue of “loss and damage” was first raised at a UN climate summit.

Since then, talk has come cheap. Finding a way to force high-income countries to produce some cash to help vulnerable countries manage the impacts of climate change has proved much, much more difficult.

But at this year’s COP27 summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, everything is different. For the first time, loss and …