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Environment Magazine September/October 2008

 

November-December 2009

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Report on Reports - November/December 2009

Adaptation to Climate Change: Assessing the Costs
Reviewed by Martin Parry, Nigel Arnell, Pam Berry, David Dodman, Samuel Fankhauser, Chris Hope, Sari Kovats, Robert Nicholls, David Satterthwaite, Richard Tiffin, Tim Wheeler, Jason Lowe, and Clair Hanson  

Several recent studies have reported the costs of adapting to climate change, including for developing countries. They have similar-sized estimates and have been influential in United Nations (UN) negotiations aimed at tackling climate change. Our reassessment of one of these studies, which reports the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) approximations for 2030, suggests that they are likely to be substantial underestimates, for several reasons. First, some sectors have not been included in an assessment of cost (for example, ecosystems, energy, manufacturing, retailing, and tourism). In addition, some of the sectors that have been included have been only partially covered. Finally, the additional costs of adaptation have sometimes been calculated as “climate markups” against low levels of assumed investment. In some parts of the world low levels of investment have led to a current adaptation deficit, and this deficit will need to be made up by full funding of development, without which the funding for adaptation will be insufficient. Residual damages also need to be evaluated and reported because not all damages can be avoided due to technical and economic constraints. There is an urgent need for more detailed assessments of these costs, including case studies of costs of adaptation in specific places and sectors.


This is a summary taken from: Martin Parry, Nigel Arnell, Pam Berry, David Dodman, Samuel Fankhauser, Chris Hope, Sari Kovats, Robert Nicholls, David Satterthwaite, Richard Tiffin, Tim Wheeler (2009) Assessing the Costs of Adaptation to Climate Change: A review of the UNFCCC and Other Recent Estimates. International Institute for Environment and Development and Grantham Institute for Climate Change, London, 111 pages.

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