Climate change loss and damage is known as the “third pillar” of international climate governance in addition to mitigation and adaptation. Although there is no agreed upon definition, loss and damage is typically considered residual slow and sudden-onset climate change impacts beyond social and natural adaptation limits. Australia is both a major emitter of greenhouse gases and highly vulnerable to climate change, especially in relation to extreme events. The science of extreme event attribution, in which specific climate extremes are mathematically determined to be exacerbated by climate forcing or not, has matured over the last decade and was central to the IPCC’s AR6 WG1 report. Whilst climate change is considered an ojective truth, culture, values and lived experiences mediate people’s perceptions of weather and climate. For example, what may be considered a climate-extreme driven loss for one may be viewed as inconsequential by another. This seminar will discuss my recent ethnographic research on the perceptions and experiences of climate change loss and damage amongst a purposeful range of actors in northern Australia, focusing on Cairns, Darwin and Townsville. I will discuss, among other things, whether people are experiencing economic or non-economic losses and damages, the limitations and benefits of the concept, and situate the findings within broader international climate research, policy, and politics.
Dr Guy Jackson received his PhD in human geography from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, in 2020. Guy’s PhD thesis explored the influence of emergency food aid on the root causes of disaster vulnerability in Indigenous food systems in Papua New Guinea. In addition to this research, he has published on such topics as agrarian change, ontologies and epistemologies of climate change and disasters, and climate change loss and damage. Currently employed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, Guy is working on the Formas funded project “Recasting the disproportionate impacts from climate change extremes” (DICE). This project involves theoretical and empirical investigations into the concept of loss and damage by a multidisciplinary team. Having been identified as a significant gap in the literature, what are known as non-economic losses and damages are being foregrounded in the DICE project.