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Adaptation Can Help Mitigation: An Integrated Approach to Post-2012 Climate Policy

  • Francesco Bosello

    (University of Milan and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

  • Carlo Carraro

    (University of Venice, CEPR, CESifo and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

  • Enrica De Cian

    (University Ca’ Foscari of Venice and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

The latest round of international negotiations in Copenhagen led to a set of commitments on emission reductions which are unlikely to stabilise global warming below or around 2°C. As a consequence, in the absence of additional ambitious policy measures, adaptation will be needed to address climate-related damages. What is the role of adaptation in this setting? How is it optimally allocated across regions and time? To address these questions, this paper analyses the optimal mix of adaptation and mitigation expenditures in a cost-effective setting in which countries cooperate to achieve a long-term stabilisation target (550 CO2-eq). It uses an Integrated Assessment Model (AD-WITCH) that describes the relationships between different adaptation modes (reactive and anticipatory), mitigation, and capacity-building to analyse the optimal portfolio of adaptation measures. Results show the optimal intertemporal distribution of climate policy measures is characterised by early investments in mitigation followed by large adaptation expenditures a few decades later. Hence, the possibility to adapt does not justify postponing mitigation, although it reduces its costs. Mitigation and adaptation are thus shown to be complements rather than substitutes.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2011.69.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2011.69
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  1. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change. Part 1: Benchmark Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 47-73, January.
  2. Kelly de Bruin & Rob Dellink & Shardul Agrawala, 2009. "Economic Aspects of Adaptation to Climate Change: Integrated Assessment Modelling of Adaptation Costs and Benefits," OECD Environment Working Papers 6, OECD Publishing.
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  5. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "Climate Policy after 2012," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 55(2), pages 235-254, June.
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  9. Collins, Julie, 2007. "Climate Change and Emissions Trading (Power Point)," 2007 Seminar, August 24, 2007, Wellington, New Zealand 97617, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
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