Key drivers and economic consequences of high-end climate scenarios: uncertainties and risks

Kirsten Halsnæs, Per Skougaard Kaspersen, Martin Drews

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    Abstract

    The consequences of high-end climate scenarios and the risks of extreme events involve a number of critical assumptions and methodological challenges related to key uncertainties in climate scenarios and modelling, impact analysis, and economics. A methodological framework for integrated analysis of extreme events and damage costs is developed and applied to a case study of urban flooding for the medium sized Danish city of Odense. Moving from our current climate to higher atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations including a 2°, 4°, and a high-end 6°C scenario implies that the frequency of extreme events increase beyond scaling, and in combination with economic assumptions we find a very wide range of risk estimates for urban precipitation events. A sensitivity analysis addresses 32 combinations of climate scenarios, damage cost curve approaches, and economic assumptions, including risk aversion and equity represented by discount rates. Major impacts of alternative assumptions are investigated. As a result, this study demonstrates that in terms of decision making the actual expectations concerning future climate scenarios and the economic assumptions applied are very important in determining the risks of extreme climate events and, thereby, of the level of cost-effective adaptation seen from the society’s point of view.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalClimate Research
    Volume64
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)85-98
    ISSN0936-577X
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Keywords

    • Climate scenarios
    • Extremes
    • Risks
    • Damage and welfare costs
    • Uncertainties

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