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Risk and economic viability of housing climate adaptation strategies for wind hazards in southeast Australia

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  • Mark Stewart


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    A changing climate and higher wind speeds means that residential construction is likely to receive more damage in the future if design standards are maintained at the current level. The vulnerability of residential construction may be reduced by an adaptation strategy that increases design wind speeds specified by Australian standards. The paper applies break-even analysis to compare the risks, costs and benefits of climate adaptation strategies for new housing in the three largest cities in Australia: Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. These cities are located in southeast Australia where wind hazard is dominated by synoptic winds (thunderstorms and east-coast lows). Break-even estimates of risk reduction and adaptation cost for designing new housing to enhanced standards were calculated for three synoptic wind pattern scenarios to 2070: (1) no change, (2) B1 and (3) A1FI emission scenarios. If the actual cost of adaptation exceeds the predicted break-even value, then adaptation is not cost-effective. It was found that this adaptation strategy can lead to risk reductions of 50–80 % at a cost of approximately 1 % of house replacement value. If risk reduction is over 50 %, discount rate is 4 %, and there is no change of climate, the break-even analysis shows that adaptation is cost-effective for Sydney if the adaptation cost is less than 5–9 % of house replacement cost. Designing new housing to enhance wind classifications is also likely to be a cost-effective adaptation strategy for Brisbane and Melbourne. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

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

    Volume (Year): 20 (2015)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 601-622

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:masfgc:v:20:y:2015:i:4:p:601-622
    DOI: 10.1007/s11027-013-9510-y
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    1. Partha Dasgupta, 2008. "Discounting climate change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 141-169, December.
    2. Jochen Hinkel & Robert Nicholls & Athanasios Vafeidis & Richard Tol & Thaleia Avagianou, 2010. "Assessing risk of and adaptation to sea-level rise in the European Union: an application of DIVA," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 15(7), pages 703-719, October.
    3. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
    4. Chi-Hsiang Wang & Xiaoming Wang & Yong Khoo, 2013. "Extreme wind gust hazard in Australia and its sensitivity to climate change," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 67(2), pages 549-567, June.
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