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Strategic adaptation to climate change in Europe

Listed author(s):
  • Fankhauser, Sam
  • Soare, Raluca
Registered author(s):

    This paper analyses the priorities and challenges for Europe as it adapts to the impacts of climate change. Whatever the ultimate level of warming we will experience, adaptation will be a permanent feature of decision making from now on. As such it is important to go about it in a strategic, rational way. A strategic approach to adaptation involves setting priorities, both spatially (where to adapt) and inter-temporally (when to adapt). The paper reviews the available evidence on Europe's exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity to indicate geographic adaptation priorities. In terms of intertemporal priorities, it recommends fast-tracking two types of action: Win-win measures that yield an immediate return, such as water efficiency, and strategic decisions on infrastructure and planning that have long-term consequences for Europe's vulnerability profile. A strategic approach to adaptation involves careful project design to ensure adaptation measures are cost-effective (how to adapt). An important complication in this respect is the deep level of uncertainty that still exists about future climate change at the local level. This puts a premium on flexible designs that can be adjusted when new information becomes available. The final element of a strategic approach to adaptation is division of labour between the state on the one hand, and private actors (households and firms) on the other (who should adapt). The paper argues that the traditional functions of the state - the provision of public goods, creation of an enabling environment and protection of the vulnerable - also apply to adaptation.

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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/88098/1/772218994.pdf
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    Paper provided by European Investment Bank (EIB) in its series EIB Working Papers with number 2012/01.

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    Date of creation: 2012
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:eibwps:201201
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    1. Noy, Ilan, 2009. "The macroeconomic consequences of disasters," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 221-231, March.
    2. Russell Sobel & Peter Leeson, 2006. "Government's response to Hurricane Katrina: A public choice analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 55-73, April.
    3. Susmita Dasgupta & Benoit Laplante & David Wheeler & Brian Blankespoor, 2010. "The Economics of Adaptation to Extreme Weather Events in Developing Countries," Working Papers id:2509, eSocialSciences.
    4. Lomborg,Bjørn (ed.), 2010. "Smart Solutions to Climate Change," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521763424, October.
    5. Alex Bowen & Sarah Cochrane & Samuel Fankhauser, 2012. "Climate change, adaptation and economic growth," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 113(2), pages 95-106, July.
    6. Rhona Barr & Samuel Fankhauser & Kirk Hamilton, 2010. "Adaptation investments: a resource allocation framework," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 15(8), pages 843-858, December.
    7. Urvashi Narain & Sergio Margulis & Timothy Essam, 2011. "Estimating costs of adaptation to climate change," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 1001-1019, May.
    8. Lomborg,Bjørn (ed.), 2010. "Smart Solutions to Climate Change," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521138567, October.
    9. Samuel Fankhauser & Ian Burton, 2011. "Spending adaptation money wisely," GRI Working Papers 37, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
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