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The macroeconomic effects of adapting to high-end sea-level rise via protection and migration

Gabriel Bachner (), Daniel Lincke and Jochen Hinkel
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Gabriel Bachner: University of Graz
Daniel Lincke: Adaptation and Social Learning
Jochen Hinkel: Adaptation and Social Learning

Nature Communications, 2022, vol. 13, issue 1, 1-13

Abstract: Abstract Climate change-induced sea level rise (SLR) is projected to be substantial, triggering human adaptation responses, including increasing protection and out-migration from coastlines. Yet, in macroeconomic assessments of SLR the latter option has been given little attention. We fill this gap by providing a global analysis of the macroeconomic effects of adaptation to SLR, including coastal migration, focusing on the higher end of SLR projections until 2050. We find that when adapting simultaneously via protection and coastal migration, macroeconomic costs can be lower than with protection alone. For some developing regions coastal migration is even less costly (in GDP) than protection. Additionally, we find that future macroeconomic costs are dominated by accumulated macroeconomic effects over time, rather than by future direct damages, implying the need for immediate adaptation. Finally, we demonstrate the importance of including autonomous adaptation in the reference scenario of economic assessment studies to avoid overestimation of adaptation benefits.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-33043-z

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