Climate proofing infrastructure in Bangladesh : the incremental cost of limiting future inland monsoon flood damage
Two-thirds of Bangladesh is less than 5 meters above sea level, making it one of the most flood prone countries in the world. Severe flooding during a monsoon causes significant damage to crops and property, with severe adverse impacts on rural livelihoods. Future climate change seems likely to increase the destructive power of monsoon floods. This paper examines the potential cost of offsetting increased flooding risk from climate change, based on simulations from a climate model of extreme floods out to 2050. Using the 1998 flood as a benchmark for evaluating additional protection measures, the authors calculate conservatively that necessary capital investments out to 2050 would total US$2,671 million (at 2009 prices) to protect roads and railways, river embankments surrounding agricultural lands, and drainage systems and erosion control measures for major towns. With gradual climate change, however, required investments would be phased. Beyond these capital-intensive investments, improved policies, planning and institutions are essential to ensure that such investments are used correctly and yield the expected benefits. Particular attention is needed to the robustness of benefits from large-scale fixed capital investments. Investments in increased understanding of risk-mitigation options and in economic mobility will have especially high returns.
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