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The economic impact of substantial sea-level rise

The economic impact of substantial sea-level rise
The economic impact of substantial sea-level rise
Using the FUND model, an impact assessment is conducted over the 21st century for rises in sea level of up to 2-m/century and a range of socio-economic scenarios downscaled to the national level, including the four SRES (IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios) storylines. Unlike a traditional impact assessment, this analysis considers impacts after balancing the costs of retreat with the costs of protection, including the effects of coastal squeeze. While the costs of sea-level rise increase with greater rise due to growing damage and protection costs, the model suggests that an optimum response in a benefit-cost sense remains widespread protection of developed coastal areas, as identified in earlier analyses. The socio-economic scenarios are also important in terms of influencing these costs. In terms of the four components of costs considered in FUND, protection dominates, with substantial costs from wetland loss under some scenarios. The regional distribution of costs shows that a few regions experience most of the costs, especially East Asia, North America, Europe and South Asia. Importantly, this analysis suggests that protection is much more likely and rational than is widely assumed, even with a large rise in sea level. This is underpinned by the strong economic growth in all the SRES scenarios: without this growth, the benefits of protection are significantly reduced. It should also be noted that some important limitations to the analysis are discussed, which collectively suggest that protection may not be as widespread as suggested in the FUND results.
sea-level rise, socio-economic scenarios, costs, protection
1381-2386
321-335
Anthoff, David
d9679a5b-a7e9-4051-8ff3-6619a190b62f
Nicholls, Robert J.
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Tol, Richard S.J.
4d0b78ab-9cc1-43cf-a519-607f6aaf9206
Anthoff, David
d9679a5b-a7e9-4051-8ff3-6619a190b62f
Nicholls, Robert J.
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Tol, Richard S.J.
4d0b78ab-9cc1-43cf-a519-607f6aaf9206

Anthoff, David, Nicholls, Robert J. and Tol, Richard S.J. (2010) The economic impact of substantial sea-level rise. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 15 (4), 321-335. (doi:10.1007/s11027-010-9220-7).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Using the FUND model, an impact assessment is conducted over the 21st century for rises in sea level of up to 2-m/century and a range of socio-economic scenarios downscaled to the national level, including the four SRES (IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios) storylines. Unlike a traditional impact assessment, this analysis considers impacts after balancing the costs of retreat with the costs of protection, including the effects of coastal squeeze. While the costs of sea-level rise increase with greater rise due to growing damage and protection costs, the model suggests that an optimum response in a benefit-cost sense remains widespread protection of developed coastal areas, as identified in earlier analyses. The socio-economic scenarios are also important in terms of influencing these costs. In terms of the four components of costs considered in FUND, protection dominates, with substantial costs from wetland loss under some scenarios. The regional distribution of costs shows that a few regions experience most of the costs, especially East Asia, North America, Europe and South Asia. Importantly, this analysis suggests that protection is much more likely and rational than is widely assumed, even with a large rise in sea level. This is underpinned by the strong economic growth in all the SRES scenarios: without this growth, the benefits of protection are significantly reduced. It should also be noted that some important limitations to the analysis are discussed, which collectively suggest that protection may not be as widespread as suggested in the FUND results.

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More information

Published date: 2010
Keywords: sea-level rise, socio-economic scenarios, costs, protection

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 181657
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/181657
ISSN: 1381-2386
PURE UUID: 7bddc8b8-2065-4382-8cd2-b335c29c0ae1
ORCID for Robert J. Nicholls: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109

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Date deposited: 18 Apr 2011 14:54
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:48

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Author: David Anthoff
Author: Richard S.J. Tol

University divisions

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