Climate-induced loss and damage are the greatest threat to young people and future generations


The Australian Government has been called on by an Australian charity to commit to loss and damage financing to help address the irreversible and life-changing impacts of climate change for future generations that cannot be avoided through mitigation or adaptation.

Plan International Australia, an organisation focussed on children’s rights and the equality of girls around the world, says that without urgent action, today’s youth and future generations face increases in ecosystem degradation, loss of biodiversity and threats to human rights.


What is climate-induced loss

Climate-induced loss is complex issue and touches on a number of things, including:

• The consequences of climate change that cannot be brought back – for example, loss of life, biodiversity, cultural heritage, and Indigenous knowledge.
• Things that can be either restored or repaired – for example, houses, schools, hospitals, roads, and bridges.

It is fairly universally recognised that the children and youth of today will face the worst loss and damage of any generation to date, despite being the least responsible for its cause.

Like all disasters, climate-induced loss and damage are felt the most by groups experiencing marginalisation and they are felt particularly in lower-income countries. Those countries highly exposed to climate-related hazards, are also often the least prepared, the poorest and the least resourced to respond to increasing disasters.

According to Plan International’s brief (From the Frontlines: Youth Call for Action to Address Loss and Damage Caused by Climate Change), the richest 1% of the world’s population has been responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the poorest 50%, it is critical that countries like Australia support young people in low-income countries, particularly in the Pacific, to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of climate disasters.

Tackling access to resources, equality and justice

Youth advocate Janice Rodrigues, who was a delegate at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Brisbane in September, said: “As a nation that has greatly contributed to climate change and one that has access to an abundance of resources and wealth, it is our duty to help young people from all across the globe.”

The impact of a changing climate on poverty and livelihood is another issue which is becoming more understood over time. Plan International’s brief reports that climate change will push an estimated additional 135 million people into poverty by 2030. They also point out that climate crisis, loss, and damage represent a threat to equality. It is much more likely to aggravate existing inequalities within and among countries.

Plan International Australia’s CEO, Susanne Legena says the climate crisis is no longer simply an environmental crisis, but a human rights and survival issue.

“Discriminatory social and gender norms mean that girls and women, in all their diversity, are often the hardest hit by climate change and have the fewest resources to bounce back. The climate crisis will only deepen these inequalities, rolling back progress towards equality and justice.”


Source: Plan International Australia Media Release –’ Climate-induced loss and damage is the greatest threat young people face today – the Australian Government must stand with them at COP27, says Plan International – 10/11/22; Plan International Australia brief ‘From the Frontlines: Youth Call for Action to Address Loss and Damage Caused by Climate Change.’

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