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Reparations For Climate Harm and The Role of The Loss and Damage Mechanism: Lessons from Other Areas of Law

Oscar Davison


The Global South is increasingly calling upon nations in the Global North to develop finance mechanisms to combat loss and damage. However, loss and damage remains underdeveloped due to the Global North’s current refusal to accept financial responsibility for climate harm occurring in vulnerable nations. Scholars have argued that the finance for loss and damage should be based upon the principle of reparations, but there is very limited research exploring how a reparations scheme should work. This article explores two existing reparations schemes: Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Australia’s National Redress scheme, to identify successful elements and limitations of these schemes. Based on this analysis, this article proposes that a climate reparations scheme should be informed by Indigenous voices and knowledge and focus on providing multiple forms of meaningful redress. The paper also finds that it is possible to develop a reparations scheme without necessarily imposing liability on the Global North. It argues that a scheme of this nature may result in the Global North being more willing to develop financing to combat loss and damage and start paving the way for meaningful climate reparations.

Oscar Davison, Law Graduate and Research Assistant at the Queensland University of Technology, School of Law. For Correspondence: <>.


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