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How Harmful are Adaptation Restrictions

Author

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  • Kelly C. de Bruin

    (Wageningen University)

  • Rob B. Dellink

    (Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group, Wageningen University and Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam)

Abstract

The dominant assumption in economic models of climate policy remains that adaptation will be implemented in an optimal manner. There are, however, several reasons why optimal levels of adaptation may not be attainable. This paper investigates the effects of suboptimal levels of adaptation, i.e. adaptation restrictions, on the composition and level of climate change costs and on welfare. Several adaptation restrictions are identified and then simulated in a revised DICE model, extended with adaptation (AD-DICE). We find that especially substantial over-investment in adaptation can be very harmful due to sharply increasing marginal adaptation costs. Furthermore the potential of mitigation to offset suboptimal adaptation is investigated. When adaptation is not possible at extreme levels of climate change, it is cost-effective to use more stringent mitigation policies in order to keep climate change limited, thereby making adaptation possible. Furthermore not adjusting the optimal level of mitigation to these adaptation restrictions may double the costs of adaptation restrictions, and thus in general it is very harmful to ignore existing restrictions on adaptation when devising (efficient) climate policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Kelly C. de Bruin & Rob B. Dellink, 2009. "How Harmful are Adaptation Restrictions," Working Papers 2009.58, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2009.58
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kelly C. de Bruin & Rob B. Dellink & Richard S.J. Tol, 2007. "AD-DICE: an implementation of adaptation in the DICE model," Working Papers FNU-126, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Feb 2007.
    2. Lecocq, Franck & Shalizi, Zmarak, 2007. "Balancing expenditures on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change : an exploration of Issues relevant to developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4299, The World Bank.
    3. Fankhauser, Samuel & Smith, Joel B. & Tol, Richard S. J., 1999. "Weathering climate change: some simple rules to guide adaptation decisions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 67-78, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Osberghaus, Daniel & Reif, Christiane, 2010. "Total costs and budgetary effects of adaptation to climate change: An assessment for the European Union," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-046, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Heuson, Clemens & Gawel, Erik & Gebhardt, Oliver & Hansjürgens, Bernd & Lehmann, Paul & Meyer, Volker & Schwarze, Reimund, 2012. "Fundamental questions on the economics of climate adaptation: Outlines of a new research programme," UFZ Reports 05/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
    3. Heuson, Clemens & Gawel, Erik & Gebhardt, Oliver & Hansjürgens, Bernd & Lehmann, Paul & Meyer, Volker & Schwarze, Reimund, 2012. "Ökonomische Grundfragen der Klimaanpassung: Umrisse eines neuen Forschungsprogramms," UFZ Reports 02/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Integrated Assessment Modelling; Adaptation; Climate Change;

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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