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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Third Copenhagen Consensus: Climate Change Adaptation Assessment, Carraro et al

Assessment Paper

An Assessment Papers on Climate Change Adaptation has been written by Francesco Bosello, Carlo Carraro and Enrica de Cian and released by the Copenhagen Consensus Center. It is update of one of the key research papers from the Copenhagen Consensus on Climate in 2009 (Fix The Climate). The working paper used by the Expert Panel is available for download here, the finalized paper has been published in Global Problems, Smart Solutions - Costs and Benefits by Cambridge University Press.

In addition two Perspective Papers have also been released, one by Samuel Fankhauser, as well as one by Anil Markandya.

Short summary

Carlo Carraro, Francesco Bosello and Enrica De Cian look at what can be achieved with adaptation policies.

They find that the most important impacts of global warming will be on agriculture and tourism, where nations will lose, on average, about half a percent of GDP from each by mid-century. However, they point out that much of this damage will be avoided by people choosing for themselves to adapt to a change in their environment. Farmers will choose plants that thrive in the heat. New houses will be designed to deal with warmer temperatures.

Taking adaptation into account, rich countries will adapt to the negative impacts of global warming and exploit the positive changes, creating a total positive effect of global warming worth about half a percentage point of GDP.

Poor countries will be hit harder, however. Adaptation will reduce the climate change-related losses from five percent of GDP to slightly less than 3 percent – but this is still a significant impact. The real challenge of global warming, therefore, lies in tackling its impact on developing nations. Here, more needs to be done, above and beyond the adaptation that will happen naturally.

Adaptation may serve multiple purposes, including helping developing countries boost education, health, and economic development.

The researchers find that every dollar spent on adaptation would achieve at least about $1.65 worth of positive changes for the planet.