Category: Climate Justice

Loss and Damage – The Litmus Test for COP26?


Over the past decade alone, extreme weather and climate-related disasters have resulted in the deaths of more than 410 000 people. The UNFCCC defines as the harms that stem from a combination of these sudden-onset events and slow-onset processes (like sea level rise) as ‘Loss and Damage’ (L & D). Sudden onset process include the lkes of flooding and wildfires, whilst slow-onset include the likes of sea level rise. Consequences of the both can include loss of land, life and large scale migration. However, it’s crucial to recognise that a fundamental part of Loss & Damage is also the loss of identity and culture.

There were a number of expectations for the Glasgow summit to unlock the political stagnation that has mired Loss and Damage talks in previous years, to meet the needs of the climate vulnerable, in the form of specific finance and compensation, technical support capacity building; and averting or at least minimising, further loss and damage. Loss and Damage has been a sticking point when framed in the context of climate debt, climate justice and moral responsibility – vulnerable countries argue that much like the context of war reparations, financial compensation is due them, due to the historical responsibility of the Global North in contributing to climate change. Many nations in the Global North however, have been resistant to making such financial contributions, fearing it will open them up to unlimited claims for damages. One important consideration for many Loss and Damage advocates here is that these contributions are not framed as charity handouts, but moreover, the paying of a debt.

The critical elements that were tabled for Loss and Damage talks during Glasgow included operationalising the Santiago Network on Loss & Damage (SNLD), a process led by G77 and China. Established in COP25 as a mode of offering technical support to non-Annex 1 countries, going into SNLD required definition and substance, in the form of a clear structure, mode of governance, financial feed, clear set of activities and communication. Another focus was to decide where to legally ‘store’ the COP19 Warsaw Implementation Mechanism (WIM) for Loss & Damage which has legal and practice ramifications for accountability and transparency. The call to label L & D as a permanent agenda idea since COP23 will continue, in quest to provide greater discussion space for L & D.  Advocation has also been made to include L&D as a core element in every country’s climate plan, in the same ways as NDCs are.  

And then the million (s) dollar question included  sourcing adequate and secure financing arrangements for Loss and Damage, through avenues including but not limited to Green Climate Fund. It is estimated that by 2030 the costs of L & D will be conservatively in the realm of 580 billion per year. L & D has typically received far far less financial support compared with adaptation finance, which in terms still receives vastly less than mitigation finance. The push from developing a call to establish a compensation fund for Loss & Damage has long been called for by vulnerable countries and civil society where, for example, high emitters (state and non state actors) would pay into a compensation fund. The campaign #PayUp4LossandDamage has been one of the strongest campaigns and focus points in Glasgow, something that many in corridors have reflected as quite the turn around in recent years,

So, heading into the final hours of COP26, or so we hope, where are we on Loss and Damage and what is the crux of the deals that need to be struck in the coming day? Here are the key takeaways.

The Outcomes we know

When it comes to form and function of the SNLD, the functions are agreed, but the form has been deferred to June intersessional. WIM governance questions remain contentious, with a tension over whether the WIM should be ‘stored’ under the COP (the preference of the G77 and ) or CPA (Paris Agreement, the preference of many in the Global North). Where the WIM is stored holds repercussions for accountability mechanisms. These decisions have been deferred to COP27.

When it comes to finance, Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon headlined COP26 early on with a 1 million pound fund pledge exclusively for Loss and Damage, only to double that figure on Thursday evening. However despite the vastly popular reception from SIDs, LDCs and civil society, she cuts a lonely figure with this pledge – no other countries have followed suit.

The Outcomes still in Play

The G77 and China have tabled what is being referred to as ‘Glasgow Loss and Damage facility,’ a financial facility that would money would flow into. This would act as a delivery vehicle for funds raised now and into the future. There has been support from 130 nations, who in turn represent 85% of the global population. However, there has been significant push back behind closed doors from the likes of the EU and US. The initial draft of the so called COP26 cover decision text, which tables the key conference outcomes of this COP, initially explicitly referred to this facility. However, in the second iteration this reference was removed, to the dismay of many.

Discussions around how to separate financial flows between a. funding the coordinating body for L & D finance b. funding the actual L & D reparations themselves have been a source of debate and delay.

In a tale of good news, Philanthropists have offered funds to initiate any prospective Loss and Damage Facility, taking the responsibility for reparations beyond that of solely state actors. This sum is just the tip of the iceberg, and should by no means assuage the responsibility of state actors in financing Loss and Damage, nor structural mechanisms that see it built into long term agreements and commitments.

One thing is clear going into the weekend. As the negotiations run further and further overtime, this becomes more and more of an inclusivity concern, a concern that has plagued COP26. For those with pre-booked travel, high rebooking costs and visa extentions blocking many wiht most at stake from staying longer.

With both sides of the able strongly drawing lines, when the final ball lands remains to be seen.

More to come…

You can read more about Loss & Damage at COP26 here and here.

COP: The Inside Story, with Isabel Baudish

Isabel Baudish, Coordinator of Zennström Professorship in Climate Change Leadership, is a member of the newly launched independent podcast Signal Switch. Ahead of COP26 they have released a 2-part special that takes a deep dive exploration of the COP history and process, particularly in relationship to Climate Justice. The episode explores why COPs, as challenging, overwhelming and problematic as they are, they still remain the key way to respond to climate change.

Follow Isabel Baudish at COP26 in Glasgow along with the rest of Climate Change Leadership on twitter or our blog as we report back live!

Democracies that fail to act on climate change face ‘existential’ threat

Daniel Lindvall is interviewed by Thomson Reuters News foundation. Read the full article here.

The interview is about a new paper Daniel has written with IDEA about “Democracy and the Challenges of Climate Change“.

Daniel Lindvall presented his paper at the IDEA webinar earlier this week, where the findings indicate that democratic countries’ failures to act on climate change can lead towards an existential threat to their democratic institutions. New ways to engage the public with democratic participation in climate change policy development is key to counter these risks. As Daniel Lindvall claims, scientists and scientific expertise do not hold all the answers and experiences and perspectives from the public can be used in the democratic process. You can watch the IDEA webinar here:

Democracy and the Challenges of Climate Change

Daniel Lindvall, researcher at Climate Change Leadership, is today publishing the Discussion paper Democracy and the Challenges of Climate Change, for International IDEA. You can read the full paper here.

The paper discussed correlation between climate change and democratic development. Certain climate consequences, as for example scarcity of food or rising food prices, are known to lead to social unrest and political instability and may lead to democratic breakdown, particularly in fragile democracies with weak state institutions. Other climate related emergency situations may have positive effects for democracy, bringing people together and providing opportunities for regime change, but they could also be used as an excuse for autocratic or hybrid regimes to curtail democratic freedoms. 

The paper also present research on the weaknesses and strengths of democracy in dealing with the climate crisis. It argues that democratic states are generally performing better on environment protection policies and climate action than autocratic states. However, factors such as the level of corruption and the size of the fossil fuel industry are affecting the climate performance negatively.

Generally speaking, the outcome of the climate crisis will depend on whether democracies can drastically reduce their carbon footprints in the coming years. Climate change poses a challenging test for democracies’ ability to cooperate and confront highly complex global challenges. In conclusion, democracies need to formulate adequate and ambitious policy responses to climate change for democracy to remain a legitimate and credible political system for young people and future generations.

The report will be discussed at a webinar on 26 October, at which Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary-General, International IDEA, Jan Wahlberg, the Finnish Climate Change Ambassador, Dr Julia Leininger, German Development Institute, & Member of International IDEA’s Board of Advisers, and Ms Elizabeth Wathuti, Founder of Green Generation Initiative and sustainability analyst at Sustainable Square, Kenya, will participate. Register for the webinar here

Remembering Maria and Zé Cláudio : Earth Defenders from Amazonia, 10 Years On

On May 24, 2011, Maria do Espirito Santo and Zé Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva, nut collectors and members of the agroforestry project (Projeto Agro-Extractivista, PAE) of Praialta Piranheira in the Brazilian Amazon, were brutally murdered as a consequence of their engagement in protecting the forest from illegal logging and timber trafficking. Making their lives out of a non-exploitative and regenerative relationship with the forest, and passionate about the defence of the rights of both Amazonia and its people, Maria’s and Zé Cláudio’s deaths belong to the number of earth defenders whose lives are being taken, year after year, for opposing the infinite expansion of global economic growth and social metabolism (Global Witness 2019). In 2012, the pair were posthumously recognised as Forest Heroes by the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat for their work fighting illegal forestry.

This May we honoured their memory and talked about their legacy for environmental justice struggles in Brazil and beyond. Zennström Professor in Climate Change Leadership, Stefania Barca, and Bartira Fortes, representative of Latinamerikagrupperna, held a moderated discussion with: 

  • Claudelice de Silva Santos, Zé Cláudio’s sister and frontline defender, who continues to oppose the human rights and land violations happening in the wake of land grabbing and logging. Claudelice fights for, in her words, the ‘the right to land and to life’, and was nominated for the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, organised by the European Parliament. She is completing a law degree at the Federal University of South and Southeast Pará.
  • Felipe Milanez, one of Brazil’s leading journalists documenting the Amazon, regular contributor to CartaCapital and VICE magazine, and former editor of National Geographic Brazil. He lived and worked closely with Maria and Zé Claudio before their murders, his documentary 2011 film Toxic Amazon tells their story. Felipe is now a professor at the Institute of Humanities, Arts and Sciences and the multidisciplinary Culture and Society graduate program at the Federal University of Bahia. 

You can find recordings from the event in English and Portuguese here.

The tragedy of Zé Cláudio and Maria’s murder is not in isolation. In 2019 alone, it is estimated that over 200 environmental defenders were killed as a consequence of their commitment to protect the environment and indigenous lands. Indigenous leaders and Indigenous women leaders in particular have been at the forefront of this struggle. How can we make sense of the violence against earth defenders in a time when their work is all the more important in the context of climate change? What can we learn from their stories about the transition to a post-carbon future?  

We strongly encourage watching the freely available 60min documentary film from Vice Magazine, Toxic Amazonto give context for the discussion. You can also watch Claudelice’s speech at the European Parliament here (begins at approximately 15:25, select your choice of language.) We also recommend reading more about Maria and Zé Cláudio’s story and other environmental defenders to learn more about the context. This recent book, Environmental Defenders : Deadly Struggles for Life and Territory, includes contributions by Claudelice and Felipe. 

This event was a collaboration between Climate Change Leadership at Uppsala University and Latinamerikagrupperna.

Remembering Berta Cáceres

This International Women’s Day we remembered Berta Cáceres, Indigenous leader and environmental defender from the Lenca people of Honduras. Berta’s murder on March 2nd 2016 was directly associated with her campaign in the defence of the Gualcarque river, the site of a proposed dam in Lenca territory.

In her first public event as Zennström Professor Stefania held a conversation with Berta’s daughter, Bertha Zuñiga, in order to understand how her work lives on and the continued struggle for justice in the region. We were very grateful to Bertha for taking the time to speak to us so openly.

Many thanks also go to Grettel Navas, Azucena Moran and Katia Lara for their support with this event.

Watch the video from the webinar. The video is a mixture of Spanish and English.

You can also read the English and Spanish transcripts here. Thank you to María Florencia Langa for transcription and translation.

This tragedy of Berta’s murder is not in isolation. In 2019 alone, it is estimated that over 200 environmental defenders were killed as a consequence of their commitment to protect the environment and indigenous lands. Indigenous leaders and Indigenous women leaders in particular have been at the forefront of this struggle. How can we make sense of the violence against these earth defenders in a time when their work is all the more relevant to climate and ecological politics? What can we learn, from their stories, about the post-carbon transition?

The following materials are also recommended to learn more about environmental defenders and their critical leadership.…/case-history-berta……/environmental-activists/…/3180-who-killed-berta-caceres

You can also follow the conversation and demand for justice at #JusticeForBerta and #5AñosJuntoABerta.


Find recorded lectures, podcasts and reports with members of the Climate Change Leadership initiative.

Follow our youtube channel for talks and events with the Climate Change Leadership initiative at Uppsala University. Follow the CEMUS youtube channel for associated talks and events.

Find resources and reports for climate justice and Just Transition here.

Find resources and reports for the Swedish Carbon Budget work here.

Find resources and reports for the work on universities and education here.

Föreläsning: ”Laggards or leaders (bromskloss eller ledare); Paris, 2°C & the role for Sweden” av Kevin Anderson. Den hölls på Hotel Lysekil den 9 mars och publik var människor som hade samlats för att protestera mot Preems utbyggnad av oljeraffinaderiet i Lysekil. Dagen efter deltog Kevin Anderson som vittne i Mark- och miljööverdomstolens förhandlingar om Preems ansökan om utbyggnad. Mars 2020.

Seminarium: Fossilfri välfärd och negativa utsläpp – vision, kollision eller tomma ord? Den 11 februari 2020 samlades forskare och beslutsfattare för att ta sig an dessa två centrala idéer i den aktuella klimatpolitiken: fossilfri välfärd och negativa utsläpp. Isak Stoddard, doktorand hos CCL och NRHU, var med i panel diskussionen.

Report: Internationalisation and Sustainability The report below provides a brief exploration of the relationship between internationalisation and sustainability agendas in the contemporary university. It reports on a short programme of desk research by the team and a workshop bringing together university leadership, students, faculty and administrative staff. It identifies key tensions, possibilities, and routes towards achieving more sustainable internationalisation strategies in universities. The report has been compiled rapidly to respond to current debates and is intended as the basis for wider discussion.

Transforming Universities for the Future keynote lecture by Keri Facer at the International Association of Universities Conference. December 2019.

En koldioxidbudget för Umeå: Vår del av Paris avtalet. Med Aaron Tuckey och Martin Wetterstedt. October 2019.

Watch Professor Keri Facer’s inaugural lecture on Renewing the European University’s Mission in a Changing Climate. An early version of the text of this talk is also available here. October 2019.

Universitetens roll för en hållbar värld – omvärldens förväntningar. Almedalen lecture and panel discussion with Keri Facer, Göran Enander, Ingrid Petersson, Matilda Strömberg, Lotta Ljungqvist, and Carl Johan Sundberg. July 2019.

Climate vision – what is the role of universities in combating climate change? Almedalen panel hosted by Keri Facer with Eva Åkesson, Emma Nohrén, and Matilda Ernkrans. July 2019.

Climate change leadership – perspectives from science, industry and politics. Almedalen panel hosted by Keri Facer with Anna Rutgersson, Åsa Wikforss, John Hassler, Klas Palm, and Kristina Persson. July 2019.

Four-part interview with Keri Facer, on the role of the future, the richness of the meanwhile, and desirable futures at the Constructing Social Futures Conference 2019 for Futuuri magazine. June 2019.

Sustainability Talk on Campus Gotland, Uppsala University by Keri Facer. Building a University for the Common Good. March 2019.

Watch a short film: Professor Kevin Anderson on Living within our carbon budget: the role of politics, technology and personal action

A Democracy Now! broadcast with Kevin Anderson: World’s Richest Must Radically Change Lifestyles to Prevent Global Catastrophe. From the United Nations Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland. December 2018.

Sweden’s carbon budget challenge – turning Paris’ aspirations into local climate action Part 1 and Part 2. A lecture and panel discussion with Kevin Anderson, Agneta Green, Anders Wijkman, and Karin Sundby. July 2018.

The Swedish Carbon Cycle 2018 with Kevin Anderson.

From Paris to Sweden: 2° C, integrity, and the climate law, Kevin Anderson talk in Halmstad. June 2018.

ClimateExistence Conference: The Science, Politics and Culture of Climate Change – Beyond a Climate of Fear by Kevin Anderson followed by a dialogue between Vanessa Andreotti, Jens Holm, Anja Fjellgren Walkeapaa and Kevin Anderson, hosted by Sanna Gunnarsson, intervention by Klimatriksdagen. May 2018.

Kevin Anderson on Climate change and the need to change behaviour in the West. Research and the Sustainable Development Goals at the Danish Institute for International Studies. 26 April 2018.

Kevin Anderson on Climate change and economic growth: Can they be managed together? From Klimatriksdagen seminarium. February 6, 2018.

Kort intervju: Kevin Anderson om flygets utsläpp och alternativa fakta. February 2018.

Kevin Anderson: Revealing the naked emperor – Paris, 2° & carbon budgets. Talk at SR and SVT-event, November 2017.

A Democracy Now! broadcast with Kevin Anderson: Our Socio-Economic Paradigm Is Incompatible With Climate Change Objectives. From the United Nations Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany. November 2017.

Quit the loose climate talk and let’s get serious! A talk between Kevin Anderson and Hugh Hunt. Climate Matters show live from COP-23 in Bonn, Germany. November 2017.

Kevin Anderson discusses negative emissions at UNFCCC with Glen Peters, Corinne Le Quéré, and Youba Sokona. November 2017.

Kevin Anderson and Isak Stoddard on Carbon Budget and Pathways to a fossil free future in Järfälla Kommun. October 25, 2017.

Podcast: Transition for beginners – How not to fly with Kevin Anderson, Radio Luftbalett, October 27, 2017.

Leader or Laggard? Reviewing Sweden’s climate and sustainability agenda . A lecture and panel discussion from Almedalen 2017 with Kevin Anderson, Ranjula Bali Swain, Hanna Hansson, and Erik Westholm.

Are universities making the world worse? Education and research in an age of climate change . A panel discussion from Almedalen 2017 with Kevin Anderson, Josefin Wangel Weithz, and Johanna van Schaik Dernfalk.

Sustainable development dilemma – why are facts not enough to convince? A panel discussion with Kevin Anderson, Henrik Hamrén, Maria Osbeck, and Anna Rudels from Almedalen 2017.

Climate Catastrophe or Societal Transition – What is Needed of Politicians and Individuals? An interview with Kevin Anderson and Stigbjörn Ljunggren. Almedalen 2017.

Courage and Climate: An Interview with Kevin Anderson. Interviewed by Paul Campion and Stephen Tuscher, students at the Newman Institute, for Civic Courage in Theory and Practice, a course taught by Brian Palmer. November 2016.

Climate Change: A Parisian Tale of Triumph and Tragedy. Uppsala University Lecture in Climate Change Leadership August 2016 with Kevin Anderson.

Education, Sustainable Development and the Challenges of Climate Change . CEMUS Spring Semester Introduction lecture 2016 with Professor Doreen Stabinsky.

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