The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change Page: 3
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The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change
Review of the Impacts of Climate Change
The paper has undertaken a rapid review of the potential impacts of future climate change. The study
has drawn on a number of key documents, notably the IPCC Third Assessment Report and recent
work by the European Environment Agency, but has supplemented these with a wider review of other
studies in the literature that focus on specific impacts or regions.
Impacts of Climate Change
The third assessment report sets out the potential impacts from climate change variability and events.
The summary of effects is shown in the table below.
Table 1. Examples of climate variability and extreme climate events and examples of their
impacts (IPCC 2001, Synthesis Report, WGII TAR SPM).
Projected changes during the 21st Representative examples of projected impacts (all high confidence
century in extreme climate phenomena of occurrence in some areas)
and their likelihood
Higher maximum temperatures, more hot Increased incidence of death and serious illness in older age groups
days and heat waves over nearly all land and urban poor.
areas (very likely) Increased heat stress in livestock and wildlife.
Shift in tourist destinations.
Increased risk of damage to a number of crops.
Increased electric cooling demand / reduced energy supply reliability.
Higher (increasing) minimum Decreased cold-related human morbidity and mortality.
temperatures, fewer cold days, frost days Decreased risk of damage to a number of crops, and increased risk to
and cold waves over nearly all land areas others.
(very likely) Extended range and activity of some pest and disease vectors.
Reduced heating energy demand.
More intense precipitation events (very Increased flood, landslide, avalanche, and mudslide damage.
likely, over many areas) Increased soil erosion.
Increased flood runoff could increase recharge of some floodplain
Increased pressure on government and private flood insurance systems
and disaster relief.
Increased summer drying over most mid Decreased crop yields.
altitude continental interiors and Increased damage to building foundations caused by ground shrinkage.
associated risk of drought (likely) Decreased water resource quantity and quality.
Increased risk of forest fire.
Increase in tropical cyclone peak wind Increased risks to human life, risk of infectious disease epidemics and
intensities, mean and peak precipitation many other risks.
intensities (likely, over some areas) Increased coastal erosion and damage to coastal buildings and
Increased damage to coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs and
Intensified droughts and floods Decreased agricultural and rangeland productivity in drought- and
associated with El Nifio events in many flood-prone regions.
different regions (likely) Decreased hydro-power potential in drought-prone regions.
Increased Asian summer monsoon Increase in flood and drought magnitude and damages in temperate
precipitation variability (likely) and tropical Asia.
Increased intensity of mid-latitude storms Increased risks to human life and health.
(little agreement between current Increased property and infrastructure losses.
models) j Increased damage to coastal ecosystems.
In Europe, more recent work by the EEA has outlined the past trends and likely future effects
('Impacts of Europe's Changing Climate, An indicator-based assessment, EEA Report No 2/2004').
AEA Technology Environment, August 2005
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Watkiss, Paul; Downing, Tom; Handley, Claire & Butterfield, Ruth. The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change, text, September 2005; Oxford, England. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29337/m1/14/: accessed January 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .