New publication: The European Green Deal – More Than Climate Neutrality

The European Green Deal – More Than Climate Neutrality

The European Green Deal aims at climate neutrality for Europe by 2050, implying a signifi cant acceleration of emission reductions. To gain the necessary support, it needs to reduce regional and social inequalities in Europe. We present objectives in terms of jobs, growth and price stability to complement the emission reduction targets and sketch a proof-of-concept investment profi le for reaching these goals. Substantial additional annual public investments, of about 1.8% of pre-COVID-19 GDP, are proposed for the next decade. Their allocation includes retrofi tting the European building stock, consciously fostering a renewal of the European innovation system as well as complementary measures in the fields of education and health. The scenario outlined in this article is meant as an input to the urgently needed discussion on how the European Green Deal can shift the EU economy to a new development path that realises a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050 while strengthening European cohesion.

Jaeger, C., J. Mielke, F. Schuetze, J. Teitge, S. Wolf. 2021. The European Green Deal – More Than Climate Neutrality. Intereconomics. Volume 56, March/April 2021, Number 2. DOI: 10.1007/s10272-021-0963-z.


Integrating new sea‐level scenarios into coastal risk and adaptation assessments: An ongoing process

The release of new and updated sea‐level rise (SLR) information, such as from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports, needs to be better anticipated in coastal risk and adaptation assessments. This requires risk and adaptation assessments to be regularly reviewed and updated as needed, reflecting the new information but retaining useful information from earlier assessments. In this paper, updated guidance on the types of SLR information available is presented, including for sea‐level extremes. An intercomparison of the evolution of the headline projected ranges across all the IPCC reports show an increase from the fourth and fifth assessments to the most recent “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” assessment. IPCC reports have begun to highlight the importance of potential high‐end sea‐level response, mainly reflecting uncertainties in the Greenland/Antarctic ice sheet components, and how this might be considered in scenarios. The methods that are developed here are practical and consider coastal risk assessment, adaptation planning, and long‐term decision‐making to be an ongoing process and ensure that despite the large uncertainties, pragmatic adaptation decisions can be made. It is concluded that new sea‐level information should not be seen as an automatic reason for abandoning existing assessments, but as an opportunity to review (i) the assessment’s robustness in the light of new science and (ii) the utility of proactive adaptation and planning strategies, especially over the more uncertain longer term.

Nicholls, R.J., Hanson, S.E., Lowe, J.A., Slangen, A., Wahl, T., Hinkel, J. and Long, A.J., 2020. Integrating new sea-level scenarios into coastal risk and adaptation assessments: An on-going process. WIREs Climate Change.

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Unravelling the Importance of Uncertainties in Global-Scale Coastal Flood Risk Assessments under Sea Level Rise

Global scale assessments of coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise are associated with a wide range of uncertainties, including those in future projections of socioeconomic development (shared socioeconomic pathways (SSP) scenarios), of greenhouse gas concentrations (RCP scenarios), and of sea-level rise at regional scale (RSLR), as well as structural uncertainties related to the modelling of extreme sea levels, data on exposed population and assets, and the costs of flood damages, etc. This raises the following questions: which sources of uncertainty need to be considered in such assessments and what is the relative importance of each source of uncertainty in the final results? Using the coastal flood module of the Dynamic Interactive Vulnerability Assessment modelling framework, we extensively explore the impact of scenario, data and model uncertainties in a global manner, i.e., by considering a large number (>2000) of simulation results. The influence of the uncertainties on the two risk metrics of expected annual damage (EAD), and adaptation costs (AC) related to coastal protection is assessed at global scale by combining variance-based sensitivity indices with a regression-based machine learning technique. On this basis, we show that the research priorities in terms of future data/knowledge acquisition to reduce uncertainty on EAD and ACdiffer depending on the considered time horizon. In the short term (before 2040), EAD uncertainty could be significantly decreased by 25 and 75% if the uncertainty of the translation of physical damage into costs and of the modelling of extreme sea levels could respectively be reduced. For AC, it is RSLR that primarily drives short-term uncertainty (with a contribution ~50%). In the longer term (>2050), uncertainty in EAD could be largely reduced by 75% if the SSP scenario could be unambiguously identified. For AC, it is the RCP selection that helps reducing uncertainty (up to 90% by the end of the century). Altogether, the uncertainty in future human activities (SSP and RCP) are the dominant source of the uncertainty in future coastal flood risk.

The online version of the paper is accessible here

Rohmer, J.; Lincke, D.; Hinkel, J.; Le Cozannet, G.; Lambert, E.; Vafeidis, A.T. Unravelling the Importance of Uncertainties in Global-Scale Coastal Flood Risk Assessments under Sea Level Rise. Water 2021, 13, 774.

Sea level rise up to four times global average for coastal communities

Coastal populations are experiencing relative sea-level rise up to four times faster than the global average – according to new research from an international research team that includes Global Climate Forum.

A new study published today in Nature Climate Change is the first to analyse global sea-level rise combined with measurements of sinking land. Climate-induced sea-level rise is a known threat to coastal populations, but the role of land subsidence in influencing relative sea level is less recognised. Recently, sea-level rise around the world’s coasts, including subsidence, averages 2.6 mm/yr. However, coastal residents on average experience sea-level rise four times faster at 7.8-9.9 mm/yr, reflecting that people preferentially live in subsiding areas, especially on deltas and in cities on deltas. Hence, contemporary risks of relative sea-level rise are much worse than previously recognised. Urgent and feasible action is needed to control and mitigate human-induced subsidence in populated areas.

The research team assessed four components of relative sea-level change – climate induced sea-level change, the effects of glacier weight removal causing land uplift or sinking, estimates of river delta subsidence and subsidence in cities. Sea-level measurements were taken from satellite data. The team then weighted their results by population to show their importance to people. The overall analysis used the Dynamic Interactive Vulnerability Assessment (DIVA) model which is designed for understanding coastal management needs.

They found that high rates of relative sea-level rise are most urgent in South, South East and East Asia as the area has many subsiding deltas and coastal flood plains, growing coastal megacities and more than 70 per cent of the world’s coastal population. They also found that over the 20th Century, the city of Tokyo experienced net subsidence of 4m, while Shanghai, Bangkok, New Orleans, and Jakarta, have experienced between 2m and 3m subsidence. In Tokyo, Shanghai and Bangkok the subsidence has been stopped or greatly reduced by reduced groundwater extraction, while in other cities there has been little direct response to reduce subsidence.

Nicholls, R.J., Lincke, D., Hinkel, J., Brown, S. Vafeidis, A.T., Meyssignac, B., Hanson, S.E., Merkens, J.-L., Fang, J. (2021). A global analysis of subsidence, relative sea-level change and coastal flood exposure. Nature Climate Change.