Global Warmism's New Campaign: 'Loss and Damage'


We must make dramatic reductions in the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change (“mitigation”), and we must fund and implement programs to help people adapt to the effects of climate change that are already happening (“adaptation”). Increasingly, we will also need to help poor countries deal with unavoidable damages caused by climate change (“loss and damage”).

– anti-poverty K-Street non-profit ActionAid1

The above statement lists the three ways that activists tackle what they call the “climate crisis.”  The concepts of mitigation and adaption are not new, but the third strategy, “loss and damage,” is a recent ideological banner that brings together advocates for global wealth redistribution based on climate injustice.  (Not to be confused with a “loss & damage waiver” from Hertz Rent-a-Car.)

It even has its own logo.

The concept was first introduced at the 2010 IPCC conference in Cancun.  In November 2013, at the IPCC’s 19th Conference of Parties in Warsaw, “loss and damage finally [got] embedded institutionally within the international climate regime” with the establishment of the “Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage associated with climate change impacts (the Mechanism).”  Who would have thought that 1960s liberals raging against the machine would now be rallying around a movement called “the Mechanism”?

If one mechanism is good, two are better, and a second was established: the Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative (see  The website of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) explains:

The new focus [on loss and damage] follows logically from the failure to make progress on either mitigation or adaptation. In other words, as the impacts [sic] climate change continue to mount – damaging property and reducing revenue from activities such as commercial fishing and tourism – the need for a system capable of compensating victims for the associated costs is not going away.

Loss of tourism revenue will be compensated?  I can’t imagine how that might be abused.

According to AOSIS, loss and damage has three components: risk assessment, insurance for places where it is “cost prohibitive,” and the creation of “an international solidarity fund in order to compensate communities for damage.”  It’s not clear why communities need both an insurance policy and an international solidarity fund.  It’s evident, however, that loss and damage is a form of social justice, or rather, climate justice – taking from the rich and giving to the poor, with reparations based on greenhouse gas emissions, which are a proxy for wealth.

How much money are we talking about?  The New York Times reports:

... the [IPCC] report…cited a World Bank estimate that poor countries need as much as $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change; they are now getting, at best, a few billion dollars a year in such aid from rich countries.

Elsewhere, this $100 billion is described as “orders of magnitude” too low.  Greg Pollowitz at Planet Gore points out that the $100 billion/year figure was dropped from the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers, an indication that this wealth transfer is unlikely to happen.

This funding argument is creating a rift between rich and poor countries at the IPCC conferences.  We read in the New York Times:

At a climate conference in Warsaw in November [2013], there was an emotional outpouring from countries that face existential threats, among them Bangladesh, which produces just 0.3 percent of the emissions driving climate change.

Are we permitted to smile when divisive income inequality rhetoric leads to squabbling among the jet-setting climate activists on their junkets in Cancun and Bali?

Climate activists are in a bit of a bind.  They want to confiscate money from developed countries to lower their excessive CO2 “pollution.”  But if they succeed in lifting billions of poor people into the middle class, all these new consumers will result in an unsustainable path for our fragile planet.  Happily for them, it is very difficult to create prosperity through redistribution; the “mechanism” can take from the rich, and the poor will still remain poor.

The loss and damage campaign, however, has more pernicious effects.  For one, climate activists now demand open borders to rescue “climate migrants.”  Since rich countries are making poor countries uninhabitable, the logic goes, it’s only fair that the victims be offered a new home.  Atiq Rahman, Bangladesh’s “leading climate scientist,” argues:

“It’s a matter of global justice,” [Rahman] said. “These migrants should have the right to move to the countries from which all these greenhouse gases are coming. Millions should be able to go to the United States.”

The Times’ article cites another disconcerting consequence:

The effects of climate change have led to a growing sense of outrage in developing nations, many of which have contributed little to the pollution that is linked to rising temperatures and sea levels but will suffer the most from the consequences. […]

“Talk to someone who’s just lost their livelihood two times in the last five years, lost their cow for reasons related to climate change,” says an ActionAid spokesperson.

Consider Bangladesh: global warming did not create the desperate situation where millions of poor people live on low-lying islands in the Ganges Delta.  Cyclones have hit the region since the time of Noah; a devastating storm in 1970 killed 500,000 people (in a time of global cooling).

A rising ocean would certainly exacerbate the effects of storm surges, but the amount of sea level rise and its causes are by no means settled science.  Furthermore, mitigation in the developed countries will do little to stop whatever changes are happening.  This hasn’t prevented climate activists from preaching to impoverished Bangladeshis that they are victims of the excessive consumption of rich people.  If Americans shared their money, they argue, it would both help the poor and encourage a simpler lifestyle among the rich.

Loss and damage is a gift to politicians in developing countries, who benefit from an external enemy, especially if it comes with gobs of foreign aid.  Instead of voters blaming their government for not building levees, they blame Americans for their consumerism.

The mechanism creates an expectation that wealth redistribution will solve age-old problems, and if it is not forthcoming, it’s likely that resentment, anger, and a toxic victim mentality will increase.  Loss and damage activists are fostering anti-American hatred in millions of people, teaching them that the prosperity of the West – its massive SUVs and unnecessary consumption of meat, its air-conditioned skyscrapers and mega-mansions – is destroying their homeland.  And if Atiq Rahman gets his wish, these millions will have the right to immigrate to the United States.

If you’ve been taught that wealth is the problem, why wouldn’t you conclude that terrorist attacks are a just and righteous solution?

1. ActionAid’s most recent financial statement in 2012 breaks down expenses as follows: program services: $1.4 million, or 53%; fundraising and administrative: $1.2 million, or 47%, well above the federal government’s guideline of a maximum 25%.

Total assets were $4.97 million, nearly two years of operating reserves, well above the recommended 6-9 months.

In 2011, their IRS 990 form shows some embarrassingly ineffective “face-to-face” fundraising: