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The Global Impacts of Extreme Sea-Level Rise: A Comprehensive Economic Assessment


  • Jonathan Pycroft

    () (European Commission)

  • Jan Abrell

    (European Commission
    ETH Zurich)

  • Juan-Carlos Ciscar

    (European Commission)


Abstract This paper investigates the world-wide economic cost of rapid sea-level rise of the kind that could be caused by accelerated ice flow from the West Antarctic and/or the Greenland ice sheets. Such an event would have direct impacts on economic activities located near the coastline and indirect impacts further inland. Using data from the DIVA model on sea floods, river floods, land loss, salinisation and forced migration, we analyse the effects of these damages in a computable general equilibrium model for 25 world regions. We consider three sea-level rise scenarios that correspond to 0.47, 1.12 and 1.75 m by the 2080s. By incorporating a wider range of damage categories, implemented in an economy-wide framework and including very rapid sea-level rise, the study offers a new contribution to climate change impact studies. We find that the loss of GDP worldwide is 0.5 % in the highest sea-level rise scenario, with a loss of welfare (equivalent variation) of almost 2 % world-wide. Within these aggregates, there are large regional disparities, with the Central Europe North region and parts of South-East Asia and South Asia being especially prone to high costs (welfare losses in the range of 4–12 %). The analysis assumes that there is not public adaptation, which would substantially lower the costs. In this way, the analysis demonstrates what is at risk, and could be used to justify adaptation expenses.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Pycroft & Jan Abrell & Juan-Carlos Ciscar, 2016. "The Global Impacts of Extreme Sea-Level Rise: A Comprehensive Economic Assessment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 64(2), pages 225-253, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:64:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s10640-014-9866-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-014-9866-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Francesco Bosello & Robert Nicholls & Julie Richards & Roberto Roson & Richard Tol, 2012. "Economic impacts of climate change in Europe: sea-level rise," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 112(1), pages 63-81, May.
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    5. Paulo A.L.D. Nunes & Margaretha Breil & Gretel Gambarelli, 2005. "Economic Valuation of On Site Material Damages of High Water on Economic Activities based in the City of Venice: Results from a Dose-Response-Expert-Based Valuation Approach," Working Papers 2005.53, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. S Fankhauser, 1995. "Protection versus Retreat: The Economic Costs of Sea-Level Rise," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 27(2), pages 299-319, February.
    7. Roy Darwin & Richard Tol, 2001. "Estimates of the Economic Effects of Sea Level Rise," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(2), pages 113-129, June.
    8. Matthew Heberger & Heather Cooley & Pablo Herrera & Peter Gleick & Eli Moore, 2011. "Potential impacts of increased coastal flooding in California due to sea-level rise," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 109(1), pages 229-249, December.
    9. P. Capros & Denise Van Regemorter & Leonidas Paroussos & P. Karkatsoulis & C. Fragkiadakis & S. Tsani & I. Charalampidis & Tamas Revesz, 2013. "GEM-E3 Model Documentation," JRC Working Papers JRC83177, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
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    Cited by:

    1. Hjort, Ingrid, 2016. "Potential Climate Risks in Financial Markets: A Literature Overview," Memorandum 01/2016, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    2. Asuncion, Ruben Carlo & Lee, Minsoo, 2017. "Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Economic Growth in Developing Asia," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 507, Asian Development Bank.


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