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What do we have to lose? Understanding and responding to climate-induced loss and damage to cultural heritage

Research reports

Written by Shandelle Steadman, Archie Gilmour, Sarah Colenbrander, Charlene Watson

Cultural heritage plays a major role in shaping our identities, enriching our spiritual existence, providing social cohesion, and helping us to understand our history.

However, as the planet continues to warm, leading to more frequent and severe extreme weather and slow onset events, the impacts of climate change are leading to the loss and damage of cultural heritage.

The most effective way to avert or minimise further climate-induced loss and damage is to reach net-zero anthropogenic emissions as quickly as possible. The second most effective way is through actions to prepare for and adjust to the impacts of climate change. Thus, climate change mitigation and adaptation can be understood as strategies to avert and minimise potential or avoidable loss and damage.

This report looks beyond mitigation and adaptation, offering a range of examples where loss and damage to cultural heritage is successfully being averted and minimised.