Climate Change Could Cost Europe $260 Billion

By Eric Haun
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action (Photo courtesy of the European Commission)

If no further action is taken and global temperature increases by 3.5°C, climate damages in the EU could amount to at least $260 billion (€190 billion), a net welfare loss of 1.8% of its current GDP. Several weather-related extremes could roughly double their average frequency. As a consequence, heat-related deaths could reach about 200 000, the cost of river flood damages could exceed $13.6 billion (€10 billion) and 8,000 km2 of forest could burn in southern Europe. The number of people affected by droughts could increase by a factor of seven and coastal damage, due to sea-level rise, could more than triple. These economic assessments are based on scenarios where the climate expected by the end of the century (2080s) occurs in the current population and economic landscape.

These are just some of the findings of a new report by the European Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre, which has analyzed the impacts of climate change in nine different sectors: agriculture, river floods, coasts, tourism, energy, droughts, forest fires, transport infrastructure and human health. The report also includes a pilot study on habitat suitability of forest tree species.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action said, "No action is clearly the most expensive solution of all. Why pay for the damages when we can invest in reducing our climate impacts and becoming a competitive low-carbon economy? Taking action and taking a decision on the 2030 climate and energy framework in October, will bring us just there and make Europe ready for the fight against climate change.

Expected biophysical impacts (such as agriculture yields, river floods, transport infrastructure losses) have been integrated into an economic model in order to assess the implications in terms of household welfare. Premature mortality accounts for more than half of the overall welfare losses ($163.6 billion/€120 billion), followed by impacts on coasts ($57.3 billion/€42 billion) and agriculture ($24.5 billion/€18 billion).

The results also confirm the geographically unbalanced distribution of climate change related damages. For the purpose of this study, the European Union is divided into five regions. What the study identifies as southern Europe and central Europe south (see background for details) would bear most of the burden (- 70%), whereas the northern Europe region would experience the lowest welfare losses (- 1%), followed by the UK and Ireland region (- 5%) and central Europe North (- 24%).

However, the report also shows that welfare impacts in one region would have transboundary effects elsewhere. For example, the welfare loss due to sea level rise in the central Europe North region or to the agricultural losses in southern Europe would have a spillover effect on the whole Europe due to economic interlinkages.

These results relate to no action taken to mitigate global warming. The project also looks at the scenario where strong greenhouse gas reduction policies are implemented and temperature rise is kept below 2 degrees Celsius (the current international target). In this case, impacts of climate change would reduce by €60 billion, a 30% decrease. In addition, some significant biophysical impacts would be substantially reduced: the increased burned area would halve and 23,000 annual heat-related deaths would be spared.

This considered, further effects should be taken into account when assessing the benefits of reducing GHG emissions, not modeled in PESETA II. Firstly, there would be a reduced risk of fundamental impacts due to extremes and abrupt climate change. Secondly, there would be benefits associated with lower EU energy imports, as a 2°C scenario would lead to a substantial reduction in net energy imports in the EU. Thirdly, the additional benefits due to lower air pollution of the 2°C scenario can be also very large. Last but not least, the difference in impacts between the Reference simulation and the 2°C scenario would get bigger as time passes beyond 2100.

If future population and economic growth projections would be taken into account, the negative effects would multiply. The study simulated this for the impacts of river floods and results show that they could multiply tenfold.

Background
The PESETA I (2009) and PESETA II (Projection of Economic impacts of climate change in Sectors of the EU based on bottom-up Analysis) studies investigate the sectoral and regional patterns of climate change impacts across Europe.

The research integrates what is known on climate impacts in the various natural science disciplines into the economic analysis. It takes into consideration current projections on estimated CO2 emissions, the potential range of climate variations (temperature, rain, wind, solar radiation, air humidity) and the biophysical impacts (agriculture yields, river floods, and transport infrastructure losses) to assess the economic burden of potential climate scenarios.

The project covers the climate impacts over the period 2071-2100, compared to 1961-1990 and considers climate impacts in five large EU regions: northern Europe (Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Denmark), UK & Ireland (UK and Ireland), central Europe North (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and Poland), central Europe South (France, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Romania), and southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Bulgaria).

Although the coverage of impacts is broad, it should be stressed that the study underestimates climate damages in Europe for a number of reasons. For instance, the coverage of climate extremes effects is limited; some impacts such as damages to biodiversity or ecosystem losses cannot be monetized and have therefore not be considered when calculating the welfare loss. Last but not least, abrupt climate change or the consequences of passing climate tipping points (such as the Arctic sea-ice melting) are not integrated in the analysis.
 

Maritime Reporter February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Finance

Petrobras Downgrade Shakes Market

Moody's shocked bond investors this week with a surprise two-notch downgrade that put Brazilian oil company Petrobras in junk territory. The move was seen by some investors as overly assertive,

Brightoil Reports Steady Growth in Interim Results

Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Limited announced its interim results for the six months ended December 31, 2014, reporting steady growth over the period.   During the period,

Some Roads Reopened in Brazil, Truck Strike Persists

Striking truckers lifted their blockade of dozens of highways in Brazil after police began fining and arresting protesters, though strike organizers said they had

News

Ferus Smit to Launch Newbuild Bulker

Ferus Smit will launch newbuild bulk carrier Arklow Breeze on Friday, March 20 at Westerbroek.   Arklow Breeze is the sixth and last vessel of a series to be

Petrobras Downgrade Shakes Market

Moody's shocked bond investors this week with a surprise two-notch downgrade that put Brazilian oil company Petrobras in junk territory. The move was seen by some investors as overly assertive,

This Week's Top Stories

The top stories this week covered everything from a DP system failure, a facelift for a WWII torpedo boat, and some mysterious tankers off the coast of Philadelphia.

Marine Science

Dredging Project to Protect Virginia Shoreline

Outer Continental Shelf sand will protect infrastructure, restore dunes and habitat   The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Naval Air Station Oceana at Dam Neck,

ST Engineering Y-O-Y Profits Slip

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd  reported today its full year financial results ended 31 December 2014 (FY2014) with a Group revenue of $6.54b compared to $6.

River Levels Decreasing in Argentina

River levels in Argentina are currently decreasing and they are expected to continue over the coming week. The bottleneck remains in the River Plate access channel,

Ocean Observation

US Keen in Maritime Cooperation with India

The US is keen in exploring great opportunities for co-operation on maritime issues with India, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations told members

Electronics Retrofit for Taiwanese Research Vessel

L-3 SAM Electronics has been awarded a contract to retrofit propulsion control and automation systems aboard the Taiwanese Navy’s Ta Kuan hydrographic and oceanographic research vessel.

Indonesia Upbeat Ahead of IORA Chair

Indonesia is gearing up to turn its foreign policy focus westward when its role as Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) chair begins later this year, reports Jakarta Post.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3373 sec (3 req/sec)