Loss and Damage (L&D) has gained traction since it became apparent that climate change would lead to impacts that cannot, or will not, be tackled by mitigation or adaptation. While current research mainly focuses on L&D in the Global South, our objective is to provide policy-relevant scientific insights from the perspective of Austria, a Global North country.

© Jasper van der Meij |

© Jasper van der Meij |

The recent special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on global warming of 1.5°C (IPCC 2018) shows that the world is on its way to breaching the 1.5°C limit by around 2040. This IPCC report also shows that we are already seeing serious consequences of 1°C warming in the form of significant increases in some weather-related extreme events such as the frequency, intensity, and/or amount of heavy precipitation in several regions, exacerbated sea level rise, and other effects on important terrestrial and oceanic systems. According to the IPCC, adaptation is essential and needs to be ramped up. However, the report for the first time also presents insight into hard and soft limits to adaptation, some of which would be reached at 1.5°C.

Limits to adaptation and approaches for dealing with risk “beyond adaptation” has been the focus of the international climate policy debate on L&D. This debate is currently still broad and diffuse, while research concepts, methods, and tools for providing direction for policy remain vague and contested. Moreover, current research mainly focuses on L&D in the Global South. The overarching TransLoss objective is to provide policy-relevant scientific insights from the perspective of Austria, a Global North country.


The first aim of TransLoss is to provide a stock take of (i) the international and national political discourse on L&D; and (ii) to identify channels through which the L&D discourse, and losses and damages directly and/or indirectly affect Austria.

Secondly, the project aims to review existing concepts and methods in physical, social, and economic climate-related science that are applicable in the context of L&D, focusing particularly on the development of novel risk metrics to inform policy on L&D.

The third goal of the TransLoss project is to define and assess the role of transformational CRM in contrast to incremental risk management to tackle L&D in Austria and beyond. In so doing, we will conceptually align comprehensive climate risk analytics with the debate on risk tolerance and soft and hard limits to adaptation.

The fourth aim of the project is to consult with Austrian experts, practitioners, and policymakers to discover if they have palpable concerns regarding intolerable L&D beyond adaptation, and how these stakeholders would define and exemplify transformational climate risk management.

Lastly, the project aims to evaluate the applicability of lessons learned from Austrian and international case studies to inform international climate L&D research and policy debate more broadly, particularly to identify how European research can engage with key players in the international L&D debate.

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Last edited: 29 March 2021


Thomas Schinko

Research Group Leader and Research Scholar Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program


November 2019 - October 2021


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313