On Wednesday 10 November, Quakers and Buddhists, people of all faiths and none, conducted a vigil for people around the world who are bearing the brunt of climate breakdown, to keep the issue of finance for ‘loss and damage’ on the COP26 agenda. The candlelit vigil was outside the exit of the restricted Blue Zone of the UN climate talks – COP26 – in Glasgow at 5.30pm.

The term ‘loss and damage’ refers to climate impacts including floods and sea-level rise as well as extreme weather events such as hurricanes, which are becoming more frequent and more severe as a result of fossil fuels heating the planet. This loss and damage is destroying homes, lands and livelihoods around the world – but there is no international agreement on who should pay for it.

The projected economic cost of loss and damage by 2030 is estimated to be between 290 and 580 billion USD in developing countries alone. Countries most vulnerable to climate breakdown have identified this as a key priority for the COP26 climate talks, but there is little sign of progress from richer countries.

Our silent vigil aims to draw attention to missing voices. – Olivia Fuchs, Centre for Applied Buddhism

Crowds at the loss and damage vigil, Glasgow

Crowds at the loss and damage vigil, Glasgow


On Monday 8 November, a themed day for adaptation and loss and damage took place as part of the UK COP26 Presidency Programme. The keynote speaker in a panel event on loss and damage, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, said “a loss and damage fund is imperative” and outlined how a fund could be set up. She warned about “a nasty nexus between the climate crisis and the debt that the world is also denying.”

Elizabeth Allen, Clerk of General Meeting for Scotland (Quakers), said: “The poorest people in the world are already bearing the brunt of a climate crisis they did nothing to cause. This is a moral outrage. Rich countries need to pay for the damage they’ve caused, and COP26 must not ignore this issue.”

Olivia Fuchs, from the Centre for Applied Buddhism, said: “We are holding our vigil outside the COP26 venue in the hope delegates leaving the day’s negotiations will see us and be reminded of their responsibility to the world’s poorest people. So many voices are not being heard at this COP – our silent vigil aims to draw attention to those missing voices.”

Drawing on recent research by the Stockholm Environment Institute and Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Quakers in Britain and other faith groups are among 300 organisations to have signed a letter calling for three actions at COP26: a decision to provide sufficient and needs-based loss and damage finance; a process to identify the scale of funding need to address loss and damage; and support for developing countries in enabling national systems to distribute loss and damage finance.

 

Loss and Damage Vigil

Loss and Damage Vigil outside the exit stalls of COP26, Glasgow

 

Loss and Damage Vigil outside the exit stalls of COP26, Glasgow

Religious leaders and adherents from many religions at the Loss and Damage Vigil outside the exit stalls of COP26, Glasgow

 


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