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Sharing the Burden of Adaptation Financing: An Assessment of the Contributions of Countries


  • Rob Dellink

    (Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM))

  • Michel den Elzen

    (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency)

  • Harry Aiking

    (nstitute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University)

  • Emmy Bergsma

    (Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University)

  • Frans Berkhout

    (Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University)

  • Thijs Dekker

    (Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University)

  • Joyeeta Gupta

    (Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University)


Climate change may cause most harm to countries that contribute least to greenhouse gas emissions. This paper identifies deontology, solidarity and consequentialism as the principles that can serve as a basis for a fair international burden sharing scheme of adaptation costs. We translate these principles into criteria that can be applied in assigning contributions of individual countries, namely historical responsibility, equality and capacity to pay. Specific political and scientific choices are discussed, highlighting implications for international burden-sharing. Combining historical responsibility and capacity to pay seems a promising starting point for international negotiations on the design of burden-sharing schemes. From the numerical assessment, it is clear that UNFCCC Annex I countries carry the greatest burden under most scenarios, but contributions differ substantially subject to the choice of an indicator for capacity to pay. The total financial contribution by the Annex I countries could be in the range of $55-68 billion annually.

Suggested Citation

  • Rob Dellink & Michel den Elzen & Harry Aiking & Emmy Bergsma & Frans Berkhout & Thijs Dekker & Joyeeta Gupta, 2009. "Sharing the Burden of Adaptation Financing: An Assessment of the Contributions of Countries," Working Papers 2009.59, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2009.59

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    1. 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).
    2. 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).

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    More about this item


    Adaptation Financing; Burden-Sharing; Historical Responsibility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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