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 August 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Finance

Norvestor to Become PG’s Largest Shareholder

Norvestor VI, L.P., a fund advised by Norvestor Equity AS, announced it has signed an agreement to invest in Ing Per Gjerdrum AS including its subsidiaries PG Hydraulics AS and PG Construction AS.

GasLog Closes First Option Vessels Dropdown

GasLog Ltd.  announced today the closing of the sale of two modern liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) carriers, the Methane Jane Elizabeth and Methane Rita Andrea,

Brent Holds Above $97, Eyes Worst Quarter Since 2012

Brent crude futures hovered above $97 a barrel on Tuesday, aided by firm U.S. and Chinese data, but the oil benchmark was on track for its deepest quarterly drop

Environmental

‘Green’ Hybrid-powered Research Vessel Christened

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk christened a larger, “greener” new research vessel on Friday, September 26 in preparation for launching a new era in examining,

Cove Point LNG Export Facility Gets US FERC Approval

U.S. federal regulators on Monday approved construction of Dominion Resources Inc's liquefied natural gas export project in Cove Point, Maryland. Cove Point is the fourth U.

Shipping's GHG Emissions Down

The total Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from global maritime transport are estimated to have been over 20% lower in 2012 than in 2007, according to "London Matters

News

Kounalakis Joins OW Bunker N. America

OW Bunker, a reseller and physical supplier of marine fuels, announced the appointment of Georgia Kounalakis to its physical supply operation in North America.

Louisiana to Get Natural Gas Liquefaction and Fueling Facility

Tenaska Bayou LNG expected to meet growing marine, transportation and oil and gas exploration and production demand on the Gulf Coast Tenaska NG Fuels, LLC and Waller Marine, Inc.

New Simulation Tool for Collision Reconstruction

BMT ARGOSS and BMT Surveys, subsidiaries of BMT Group Ltd, the international design, engineering and risk management consultancy, announced an innovative new service

Marine Science

‘Green’ Hybrid-powered Research Vessel Christened

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk christened a larger, “greener” new research vessel on Friday, September 26 in preparation for launching a new era in examining,

Great Lakes Restoration Plan Announced

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informs that Administrator Gina McCarthy has released a new Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Action Plan that

Seakeeper Launches 5 New Models

Seakeeper proudly introduces five new models, offering stability and roll reduction for vessels 30’ and larger! The product range now includes the Seakeeper 5, 9,

Ocean Observation

‘Green’ Hybrid-powered Research Vessel Christened

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk christened a larger, “greener” new research vessel on Friday, September 26 in preparation for launching a new era in examining,

USCG Warns Boaters of Cold Water Despite Warm Air

The Coast Guard 9th District is warning Great Lakes boaters that falling water temperatures pose safety risks even as air temperatures stay warm. The National

Arctic Bay is a Strait Proves Research Ship

The crew of the Admiral Vladimirsky research vessel during the second phase of its voyage has made a number of geographical and scientific discoveries in the Arctic,

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators 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: 0.2666 sec (4 req/sec)