Outcomes of the ToPDAd Studies
The seven regional cases studies provide detailed insights into the economic effects of climate change and adaptation measures on a time scale up to 2050, with some cases continuing to 2100. The cases focus on three sectors – transport, energy and tourism, but also provide detailed information about overall (inter)national economic effects. While starting from local events and situations, the results of these studies are relevant for and applicable in wider regions in Europe. Several cases studies also provide indications for variations in losses (and sometimes gains) across Europe.
ToPDAd uses two macro-economic models, one covering a medium to long-term period from the present up till 2050 (GINFORS), and a second one covering a longer period, from now up till 2090 (GRACE). The first model provides insight in the economic potential of different de-carbonising strategies, whereas the second one analyses the effects of different adaptation strategies while being confronted with climate change impacts.
Demonstration of participatory decision making
ToPDAd developed a methodology for participatory valuation and decision making called Strategy Robustness Visualisation Method (SRVM), which was applied in two demonstrations. SRVM visualises the robustness of adaptation strategies to support the decision-makers in evaluating different decision alternatives. The methodology combines modelling information created during the project with previous research and expert opinion. It is demonstrated in two cases: "Energy production in Northern Europe" and "Nuclear Energy Production in France".
An EU-wide GIS dataset has been developed for supporting the regional, cross-European assessment of climate change impacts. The dataset unifies, in a 25 by 25 kilometers grid, climate change, population, and economic growth projections for three RCP-SSP scenarios by decade from 2010 until 2100. Climate change projections use 1950-1999 as the baseline reference period. The gridded information includes temperature, precipitation, population, GDP, and selected output from the models employed in ToPDAd, such as changes in tourism.
Combining climate and socio-economic information from various sources into a unified geographical grid system enables the assessment of climate-related regional impacts in an efficient, comprehensive, and consistent manner. It also enables to draw European-wide comparisons based on the same data sources and a standardized geographical measurement. For instance, the end-user can rapidly compare regions with respect to future climate and relate those forecasts with projections of population and economic output. Alternatively, the user can focus on a specific agglomeration of grid cells and study in depth the provided time series. That is, this system provides both mapping and quantitative analysis capabilities.The dataset has fused the pattern-scaled climate ensemble projections of the CLIMGEN model of UEA with EUROSTAT's socioeconomic statistics on base year population and GDP, and IIASA's SSP growth ensemble forecasts. In future versions, information about the natural and man-made environment will be added, for instance, ecosystems, transportation and energy network, and the building stock.
Key Messages and Lessons Learned
The case studies indicate that adaptation often can reduce negative economic effects of climate change. However, the macro-economic simulations demonstrate that economic growth without very significant greenhouse gas emission reductions leads to disproportionate accumulation of climate change costs after 2050. Consequently the first priority for keeping adaptation efforts manageable and affordable should be timely and substantial emission reductions.
Even though each of the sectors – energy, transport, and tourism – faces on balance extra costs, especially after 2050, there will be winners and losers in all three sectors. Especially, the climate change induced inter-regional redistribution of competitiveness of these sectors, and sometimes of the entire affected regions, merits further analysis and policy attention.
Several forms of generic and dedicated innovation will be important to enhance effectiveness and uptake of automatic and planned adaptation.
The case studies indicate that adaptation will take place both via operational and strategic decision making. Improvement of the effectiveness of adaptation at operational level often entails improvements and innovations in provision and sharing of information (e.g. road weather conditions).
Adaptation at operational level can be to a significant extent automatic (or autonomous) adaptation, but may be enhanced by innovations, innovation promoting policies, and liability regulation. Strategic adaptation decisions classify as planned adaptation and usually entail significant investments in physical measures, possibly supported by (increased) expenditures on education, training, and information provision. Also major regulatory changes fall in this category, if these have major effects on accountability and need to invest. Operational level adaptation may add grace time for strategic decision making, i.e. allowing for more learning. To the extent that adaptation is seen as a collection of sector and/or risk specific activities, it is important to consider the entire range of adaptation options – from automatic via enhanced automatic to planned and innovative adaptation.
For an understanding of the indirect effects of climate change and of adaptation planning macroeconomic models should be used, for which however the stepwise distinction of stages of adaptation is much harder to apply, whereas high end extreme events are neither easy to include. For the latter challenge a separate optimal investment module capable handling of stochastic shocks could be added. Nonetheless, the importance of the macroeconomic simulations is in illustrating long term negative and positive effects on capital, labour and resource productivity as well as on international competitive positions, which can amount to many times the more visible direct costs of various climate change effects.
Last but not least it should be realized that adaptation policy is very much a cross-cutting policy field, needing integration with many existing policy areas. The most important policy areas for cooperation are:
The following policy areas are in principle most relevant:
- Climate change adaptation strategies at national and regional levels and interaction with climate change mitigation policies, supported by EU adaptation policy framework
- Resilience and crisis management policies, driven by recent and upcoming EU directives on resilience of critical infrastructure, and resilience to natural hazards
- EU Regional cohesion policies
- EU Energy Policy framework
a) 2020 Energy Strategy
b) infrastructure policies (projects of common interest)
- EU Transport Policy framework and national transport policies
a) Sustainable transport
b) ecurity and safety (incl. resilience to natural hazards) – reliability
c) Trans-European networks (TEN-T) / Projects of Common Interest (PCI) – reliability, cohesion
- Environmental policies – several spatial scales
- Innovation policies – EU and national level
Click on one of the images below to access the results of a ToPDAd case study or assessment