Economic impacts of climate change in Europe: sea level rise

F. Bosello, R.J. Nicholis, J. Richards, R. Roson, R.S.J. Tol

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This paper uses two models to examine the direct and indirect costs of sea-level rise for Europe for a range of sea-level rise scenarios for the 2020s and 2080s: (1) the DIVA model to estimate the physical impacts of sea-level rise and the direct economic cost, including adaptation, and (2) the GTAP-EF model to assess the indirect economic implications. Without adaptation, impacts are quite significant with a large land loss and increase in the incidence of coastal flooding. By the end of the century Malta has the largest relative land loss at 12% of its total surface area, followed by Greece at 3.5% land loss. Economic losses are however larger in Poland and Germany ($483 and $391 million, respectively). Coastal protection is very effective in reducing these impacts and optimally undertaken leads to protection levels that are higher than 85% in the majority of European states. While the direct economic impact of sea-level rise is always negative, the final impact on countries' economic performances estimated with the GTAP-EF model may be positive or negative. This is because factor substitution, international trade, and changes in investment patterns interact with possible positive implications. The policy insights are (1) while sea-level rise has negative and huge direct economic effects, overall effects on GDP are quite small (max -0.046% in Poland); (2) the impact of sea-level rise is not confined to the coastal zone and sea-level rise indirectly affects landlocked countries as well (Austria for instance loses -0.003% of its GDP); and (3) adaptation is crucial to keep the negative impacts of sea-level rise at an acceptable level. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-81
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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