The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change Page: 51
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The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change
strong decline in the FUND values under lower stabilisation targets is consistent with the concept that
progress stabilisation (and lower temperature changes) would prevent much of the major potential
damages of climate change, leading to lower marginal values. It also appears that deeper emission
cuts avoid more damage, but the additionally avoided damage gets progressively smaller55.
However, FUND does not include any of these major events, any socially contingent effects, excludes
many bounded risks, and the numbers above do not include equity weights, all of which would
significantly increase the values above. Note the graph above only relates to current emissions, other
work with FUND has shown that the marginal social costs rise for emissions in future years (i.e. 2010
and subsequent decades). Therefore some care must be taken in drawing too many conclusions from
Both the FUND and the PAGE models include adaptation, and it would be useful to separate out
adaptation and damage costs. It would also be useful to undertake a wider review and analysis of the
literature on adaptation costs. The modelling of adaptation remains a major issue that justifies further
work; key adaptation issues and areas for further work are discussed below.
Adaptation to climate change is needed to prevent or limit severe damage to the environment, society
and economies and to help ensure sustainable development in the face of climate change. Adaptation
is necessarily cross-cutting as it involves promoting an understanding of how the changing climate
will affect all sectors in different ways in each country. However, adaptation will also incur costs and
will not prevent all damages.
Planning for climate change adaptation should begin as soon as possible because anticipatory and
precautionary adaptation is more effective and less costly than forced, last minute, emergency
adaptation or retrofitting (EEA 2004). The ability of human systems to adapt to and cope with climate
change depends on such factors as wealth, technology, education, information, skills, infrastructure,
access to resources and management capabilities (TAR 2001). Developing countries have less of
these attributes and as a result have a lesser capacity to adapt and are more vulnerable to climate
Reviews of climate change adaptation work56 have shown that climate change costing studies often
pay little attention to adaptation costs and more work needs to be completed in this area. Areas for
improvements in costing studies include:
- more realistic estimates of the costs of implementing adaptation measures
- distinguish between autonomous and anticipatory adaptation: there are generally economic
advantages to anticipatory adaptation
- more research into the distribution of adaptation costs and benefits
Further research in these areas would increase the reliability of adaptation cost estimates.
5 The analysis has also revealed some potentially interesting trends - with deep cuts, emission reduction may
become so costly that economic growth is slowed down, and vulnerability to climate change increases.
56 Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: A Canadian Perspective, Natural Resources Canada 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/m1/62/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .