Managing Climate Risks, Facing up to Losses and Damages

This report addresses the urgent issue of climate-related losses and damages. Climate change is driving fundamental changes to the planet with adverse impacts on human livelihoods and well-being, putting development gains at risk. The scale and extent of future risks for a given location is, however, subject to uncertainties in predicting complex climate dynamics as well as the impact of individual and societal decisions that determine future greenhouse gas emissions as well as patterns of socio-economic development and inequality. The report approaches climate-related losses and damages from a risk management perspective. It explores how climate change will play out in different geographies, over time, focusing on the three types of hazards: slow-onset changes such as sea-level rise; extreme events including heatwaves, extreme rainfall and drought; and the potential for large-scale non-linear changes within the climate system itself. The report explores approaches to reduce and manage risks with a focus on policy action, finance and the role of technology in supporting effective risk governance processes. Drawing on experiences from around the world, least developed countries and small island developing states in particular, the report highlights a number of good practices and points to ways forward.

Published on November 01, 2021Also available in: French


Executive summary
Losses and damages from climate change: A critical moment for action
Types of uncertainties and understanding of risks of losses and damages
Climate change impacts and their cascading effects: implications for losses and damages
Policy, governance and institutions for reducing and managing losses and damages
Finance and financial risks in the face of growing losses and damages
Technology for reducing and managing losses and damages
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Key insights

Unequal risks

Least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are both at high risk of climate-related impacts: people in LDCs might experience a 50% higher increase in extreme heat compared to the global average; in SIDS many losses and damages are associated with sea-level rise.

Managing uncertainty

Efforts to manage risk need to consider uncertainties in planning for actions in relation to each of the three components of climate risk: limiting hazards, minimising exposure and reducing vulnerabilities to those hazards.

Differing approaches

Increasing awareness of risks is key for the different actors – e.g. governments, households and businesses – to manage their risks effectively by making appropriate use of risk reduction, retention and transfer approaches in relation to their needs and capacities.