Ken Shockey from the University of Buffalo asked me to post the following call for abstracts for a workshop on Loss, Damage and Harm. This workshop will be held on 8th and 9th of May 2015 at the University of Buffalo, and the deadline for 500 word abstracts is on the 15th of November, 2014. There is more information about the workshop below.

Call For Abstracts
Second Workshop on Ethics and Adaptation
Loss, Damage, and Harm

MAY 8th and 9th, 2015
University at Buffalo

A workshop sponsored by UB College of Arts and Sciences, UB Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, UB Department of Philosophy, and UB Philosophy Hourani Fund.

Contact: Ken Shockley,, 716-645-0145

An increasingly significant theme of climate change negotiations is loss and damage. While loss and damage has constituted a very specific track of climate negotiations, there are larger issues, conceptual and practical, in need of clarification. Given this need the theme of the second workshop on ethics and adaptation will be loss, damage, and harm.

Inside and outside of negotiations, loss and damage seem to be tied quite closely to the idea of harm. But are they really so closely related? As loss and damage might be construed more broadly than matters of economics, or even more broadly than distinctively human well-being, a more expansive notion of harm may be required, one not easily captured either in the language of current climate negotiations or even in our common understanding of loss and damage outside of those negotiations. It is not entirely clear the extent to which there is a difference between harm, on the one hand, and loss and damage, on the other. For example,

  • Should we recognize harms that do not register as loss or damage, say, an increase in vulnerability or the loss of opportunity? 
  • How should this be integrated into climate negotiations, development efforts, and responses to environmental catastrophe? 
  • More generally, what is the relation between loss, damage, and harm?

Adding clarity to the relation between harm and loss and damage, and to our understanding of the normative significance of harm, and will be crucially important for making the difficult choices involved with addressing the inevitable loss and damage resulting from our changing world.

Recognizing that moving forward on these issues will require a broad and inclusive conversation, the second workshop on ethics and adaptation will bring together philosophers, policy scholars, and other researchers and practitioners working on issues related to ethics, adaptation, and sustainability. Contributions from non-traditional and diverse perspectives are particularly welcome as are contributions from those who bring diversity and divergent viewpoints to the discussion.

Suggested topics include:
• Loss and damage in the UNFCCC climate negotiations
• Environmental justice challenges to loss and damage discourse
• Implementing a development agenda into climate negotiations
• Alternative conceptualizations of harm, risk, and damage
• The relation between environmental value and harm
• The limits of individual and collective adaptation
• Vulnerability of individuals and communities
• Existential threats caused by climate change
• Disaster ethics and normal ethics
• Disaster, risk reduction, and specific policy responses (e.g. Hyoga Framework for Action)

Submission Procedure, Workshop Format, and Other Particulars:

500 word abstracts or preliminary proposals should be submitted by 15 November 2014 to Ken Shockley (kes25 at buffalo dot edu).

For those proposals selected, short (1500-2500 word) work-in-progress papers will be due 15 March 2015. We will discuss these circulated drafts at the workshop. Each workshop participant will have 15 minutes to present or expand upon the work previous circulated. This will be followed by 30 minutes of open discussion. There will be ample time during the course of the workshop for open discussion and coordinating future projects and common endeavors. There will be opportunities to publish the results of this workshop; the first workshop on ethics and adaptation resulted in a special issue of Environmental Values (Vol 23.2) and an edited collection nearing completion.

Accommodation will be provided for workshop participants, but at this time we cannot commit to covering transportation expenses. We are hopeful that limited travel funds may become available.