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Getting Real about Adapting to Climate Change: Using ‘Real Options’ to Address the Uncertainties

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  • Leo Dobes

Abstract

Scientists predict that some climate change is already inevitable, even if greenhouse emissions are stabilised. Adaptation strategies will be of comparable importance to reducing emissions. However, the specific effects of climate change are currently unknowable, especially at the local level. Given this uncertainty, deterministic adaptation strategies are inappropriate. Rather than building ‘worst-case scenario’ sea walls, for example, strong foundations can be laid — so that walls can be built (or not built) in future to match actual climatic conditions without incurring unnecessary upfront expense. Other examples of such ‘real options’ are provided to illustrate the feasibility of the approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Leo Dobes, 2008. "Getting Real about Adapting to Climate Change: Using ‘Real Options’ to Address the Uncertainties," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 15(3), pages 55-72.
  • Handle: RePEc:acb:agenda:v:15:y:2008:i:3:p:55-72
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    File URL: http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p87771/pdf/15-3-AR-1.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Dobes, Leo, 2012. "Adaptation to Climate Change: Formulating Policy under Uncertainty," Working Papers 249390, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    2. Decker, Christopher, 2018. "Utility and regulatory decision-making under conditions of uncertainty: Balancing resilience and affordability," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 51-60.
    3. Bryan M. Maybee & Daniel J. Packey, 2014. "The Effect of the Inclusion of Uncertainty on the Optimal Allocation of Resources to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programmes," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 33(1), pages 67-75, March.
    4. Todd Sanderson & Fredoun Z. Ahmadi‐Esfahani, 2009. "Testing Comparative Advantage in Australian Broadacre Agriculture Under Climate Change: Theoretical and Empirical Models," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 28(4), pages 346-354, December.
    5. Dobes, Leo, 2010. "Notes on applying ‘real options’ to climate change adaptation measures, with examples from Vietnam," Working Papers 249384, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    6. World Bank, 2011. "Climate Change and Fiscal Policy : A Report for APEC," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2734, The World Bank.

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