Counting the cost of climate change
The report, Climate
change: the cost of inaction and the cost of adaptation, looks at
the economic costs of climate change (impacts) at a European level.
These costs are increasingly shaping the climate policy debate but the
report highlights the fact that methodological issues and uncertainties
remain in cost estimation.
Based on a review of existing information, the report also analyses
the economic costs of climate change at a sector level in Europe,
considering natural ecosystems, coastal zones, agriculture, energy,
tourism, human health, water availability and the built
Whilst detailed information is still limited, the report reveals
that projected changes in climate are expected to have wide ranging
impacts and economic effects. The overall net economic effects are
still largely uncertain, however, there is a strong distributional
pattern, with more adverse effects in the Mediterranean and
The study also concludes that adaptation has an extremely important
role in reducing these economic costs. However, a review of EEA member
countries shows that whilst almost all countries are making progress in
terms of recognizing the importance of adaptation, only a handful are
progressing an economic perspective. It is crucial that countries begin
to exchange information, share experience and learn lessons from each
other, the report says.
A major element of the report is a review of the main methodological
issues in estimating the costs of inaction and the costs of adaptation.
The study shows that the evidence and understanding of the costs of
inaction are still incomplete. Different assumptions and choices in the
methodology lead to a very wide range of estimates. A number of
challenges and research needs are identified which should be addressed
in order to improve our understanding of the economic costs of climate
Ultimately, the report calls for improved information on climate change impacts and adaptation strategies, and recommends greater information sharing among EEA member countries.
EEA technical report No 13/2007: Climate
change: the cost of inaction and the cost of adaptation