The Cost of Climate Change in the Pacific

Some very interesting findings on or relating to the cost of climate change in the Pacific (more to come soon on this topic):

Damages to Caribbean countries due to rising sea levels could run to 4-6 billion US dollars per year: this from the Guardian from back in December 2010, which refers to a UN study conducted by the Oxford Centre for the Environment, which I cannot find online (if anybody can find it, please do contact me with it so I can post it).  The study shows that the yearly cost of a sea-level rise of 1m could amount to 4-6 billion dollars per year,  with the sea encroaching on the land by an average of 100m.  The cost figure does not account for other extreme events and biodiversity loss caused by climate change.  The Guardian article is not much more specific than that on the methodology; but the study is indicative of the huge costs for the Pacific.  I would be interested to see what the data sources are and the methodology behind the study, and whether, in the data-scarce Pacific a similar study could be conducted, or has been attempted.

Total costs of adaptation by region and climate change scenario: The following table from a World Bank study (see hyperlink above) shows that the East Asia and Pacific region will suffer the highest cost of climate change adaptation in the world, but of course lumping the two regions together is meaningless for the Pacific given the enormous relative size of its regional neighbour East Asia.



2 responses to “The Cost of Climate Change in the Pacific

  1. This is yet another shallow stuidy on the economic costs of climate change. For many years we have been inundated with headline figures of costs but in reality we have little in the way of substantive empirical evidence, exctremely limited data, and little knowledge about what the world will actually do about climate change. Many of these estimates are also based on static analysis rather than integrating depreciation, adaptive capacity and loses due to poor governance and zoning so their real valuations need to be taken with a grain of salt.. For example, many of the assets that are costed at today’s values (say a major tourist hotel) will actually be past their design lifetime by 2050-2070 so their actual value will be depreciated to a significant extent already.

    In general it is safe to say that CC will have a net cost impost on many communities and countries but the extent of this loss is rather specualtive at present. The Carribbean figures are probably a bit more reliable but for the Pacific we have much less knowledge on which to base the conclusion. We do not even know with any certainty how the climate will change over the next half century and what will be the impact on the natural and socioeconmic systems of the Pacififc island nations. We certainly need to understand this space better but without sufficient data and understanding it all still seems pretty speculative.

  2. jonathantsbower

    Thanks for the comment. It is extremely difficult to put a number on the cost of something that will have complex effects in an already complex environment. I’ll keep looking for relevant studies including more micro-level studies on or relevant to the Pacific region in the hope of finding one you don’t already know about, and post accordingly!

    Micro-level studies are surely more useful? E.g. do you think the report about rising sea levels and effects on mangroves in the next post is a useful one?

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