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The economic impact of substantial sea-level rise

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  • David Anthoff

    ()

  • Robert Nicholls
  • Richard Tol

Abstract

Using the FUND model, an impact assessment is conducted over the 21st century for rises in sea level of up to 2-m/century and a range of socio-economic scenarios downscaled to the national level, including the four SRES storylines. This model balances the costs of retreat with the costs of protection, including the effects of coastal squeeze. While the costs of sea-level rise increase with greater rise due to greater damage and protection costs, the model suggests that an optimum response in a benefit-cost sense remains widespread protection of developed coastal areas, as identified in earlier analyses. The socio-economic scenarios are also important in terms of influencing these costs. In terms of the four components of costs considered in FUND, protection dominates, with substantial costs from wetland loss under some scenarios. The regional distribution of costs shows that a few regions experience most of the costs, especially East Asia, North America, Europe and South Asia. Importantly, this analysis suggests that protection is much more likely and rational than is widely assumed, even with a large rise in sea level. This is underpinned by the strong economic growth in all the SRES scenarios: without this growth, the benefits of protection are significantly reduced. It should also be noted that some important limitations to the analysis are discussed, which collectively suggest that protection may not be as widespread as suggested in the FUND results. Equity weighting allows the damages to be modified to reflect the wealth of those impacted by sea-level rise. Taking these distributional issues into account increases damage estimates by a factor of three, reflecting that the costs of sea-level rise fall disproportionately on poorer developing countries.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11027-010-9220-7
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change.

Volume (Year): 15 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 321-335

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Handle: RePEc:spr:masfgc:v:15:y:2010:i:4:p:321-335

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11027

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Related research

Keywords: Sea-level rise; Socio-economic scenarios; Costs; Protection;

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References

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  1. David Pearce, 2003. "The Social Cost of Carbon and its Policy Implications," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 362-384.
  2. Azar, Christian & Sterner, Thomas, 1996. "Discounting and distributional considerations in the context of global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-184, November.
  3. Samuel Fankhauser & Richard S.J. Tol, 2001. "On Climate Change And Economic Growth," Working Papers FNU-10, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Jun 2002.
  4. Anthoff, David & Hepburn, Cameron & Tol, Richard S.J., 2009. "Equity weighting and the marginal damage costs of climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 836-849, January.
  5. Dasgupta, Susmita & Laplante, Benoit & Meisner, Craig & Wheeler, David & Jianping Yan, 2007. "The impact of sea level rise on developing countries : a comparative analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4136, The World Bank.
  6. Samuel Fankhauser & Richard Tol & DAVID Pearce, 1997. "The Aggregation of Climate Change Damages: a Welfare Theoretic Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 249-266, October.
  7. Christian Azar, 1999. "Weight Factors in Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(3), pages 249-268, April.
  8. Richard Tol, 2007. "The double trade-off between adaptation and mitigation for sea level rise: an application of FUND," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 12(5), pages 741-753, June.
  9. R K Turner & N Adger & P Doktor, 1995. "Assessing the economic costs of sea level rise," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 27(11), pages 1777-1796, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Evan Flugman & Pallab Mozumder & Timothy Randhir, 2012. "Facilitating adaptation to global climate change: perspectives from experts and decision makers serving the Florida Keys," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 1015-1035, June.
  2. Philip Camill & Maryellen Hearn & Krista Bahm & Eileen Johnson, 2012. "Using a boundary organization approach to develop a sea level rise and storm surge impact analysis framework for coastal communities in Maine," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 111-130, June.

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