New paper on A typology for analysing mitigation and adaptation win-win strategies

A sustainability transition in line with achieving global climate goals requires the implementation of win-win strategies (WWS), i.e. socioeconomic activities that enable economic gains while simultaneously contributing to climate change mitigation or adaptation measures. Such strategies are discussed in a variety of scientific communities, such as sustainability science, industrial ecology and symbiosis and circular economy. However, existing analyses of win-win strategies tend to take a systems perspective, while paying less attention to the specific actors and activities, or their interconnections, which are implicated in win-win strategies. Moreover, they hardly address adaptation WWS. To address these gaps and support the identification and enhancement of WWS for entrepreneurs and policy-makers, we propose a typology of WWS based on the concept of a value-consumption chain, which typically connects several producers with at least one consumer of a good or service. A consideration of these connections allows an evaluation of economic effects in a meso-economic perspective. We distinguish 34 different types of WWS of companies, households and the state, for which 23 real-world examples are identified. Further, contrary to prevailing views on the lack of a business case for adaptation, we do identify real-world adaptation WWS, though they remain underrepresented compared with mitigation WWS. Our typology can be used as an entry point for transdisciplinary research integrating assessment of individual transformative socioeconomic activities and highly aggregated approaches assessing, e.g. the macro-economic effects of WWS.

The online version of the paper is accessible here

New paper on Economic motivation for raising coastal flood defenses in Europe

Extreme sea levels (ESLs) in Europe could rise by as much as one metre or more by the end of this century due to climate change. This poses significant challenges to safeguard coastal communities. Here we present a comprehensive analysis of economically efficient protection scenarios along Europe’s coastlines during the present century. We employ a probabilistic framework that integrates dynamic simulations of all ESL components and flood inundation, impact modelling and a cost-benefit analysis of raising dykes. We find that at least 83% of flood damages in Europe could be avoided by elevating dykes in an economically efficient way along 23.7%-32.1% of Europe’s coastline, specifically where high value conurbations exist. The European mean benefit to cost ratio of the investments varies from 8.3 to 14.9 while at country level this ranges between 1.6 and 34.3, with higher efficiencies for a scenario with high-end greenhouse gas emissions and strong socio-economic growth.

The online version of the paper is accessible here

The interview with Priv. -Doz. Dr. habil Jochen Hinkel is accessible here

New paper on The effectiveness of setback zones for adapting to sea-level rise in Croatia

The Mediterranean coastal zone is particularly vulnerable to climate-induced sea-level rise due to rapid coastal development, leading to increased flood exposure in coastal areas. In Croatia, the share of developed coastline is still lower than in other Mediterranean countries, but development has accelerated since the 1960s. Available assessments of future coastal flood risk take into account adaptation by hard structural protection measures but do not consider other options, such as retreat from exposed areas or restricting future development. In this study, we provide the first assessment of the effects of setback zones on future coastal flood impacts on national scale. We extend the flood impact and adaptation module of the DIVA modelling framework with models of restricted future development and slow retreat (managed realignment) in the form of setback zones. We apply this model to a downscaled database of coastal segments of the coastline of Croatia. We find that setback zones are an effective and efficient measure for coastal adaptation. Construction restriction and managed realignment reduce the future cost of coastal flooding significantly, especially in combination with protection. If protection and construction restriction by setback zones are combined, the future cost of coastal flooding can be reduced by up to 39%. Combining protection and managed realignment by setback zones can reduce the future cost of coastal flooding by up to 93%.

The online version of the paper is accessible here

New Paper on Responding to Sea Level Rise

The scale of the SLR challenge is immense and strong mitigation efforts are needed to avoid multiple meters of SLR within the next few centuries, which will be unmanageable for many coastal regions of the world. But even with such efforts, sea levels will continue to rise for decades and centuries to come. Thus coastal adaptation is essential in any future, but it will be much easier and more likely to be successful when combined with stringent mitigation. The important thing is to start exploring long-term adaptive strategies now if they are not already initiated.

The online version of the paper “Responding to Sea Level Rise” is accessible here

The added value of real options analysis for climate change adaptation

Climate change adaptation investment decisions can be made more efficiently if uncertainty and new information are considered in their economic appraisal. Real options analysis (ROA) is a robust decision-making tool that allows for the incorporation of both uncertainty and new information. In this opinion article, we argue that ROA is a valuable tool, providing the analysis is designed to reflect the real-world characteristics of the decision context. We highlight the differences between traditional risk-based ROA, and scenario-based ROA, and discuss the relative merits of the approaches from the perspective of their assumptions and use of climate information.

The online version of the paper “The added value of real options analysis for climate change adaptation” is accessible here

New Essay on Extended Evolutionary Dynamics in the Technosphere by GCF’s Co-Chairman Manfred Laubichler

By going through the transitions in cell evolution and energy regimes, evolutionary biologist Manfred Laubichler explains the dynamics behind the formation of the metabolic activity and complexity of our planet…

New Paper on User Needs for Sea Level Rise

“Meeting User Needs for Sea Level Rise Information: A Decision Analysis Perspective”

Despite widespread efforts to implement climate services, there is almost no literature that systematically analyzes users’ needs. This paper addresses this gap by applying a decision analysis perspective to identify what kind of mean sea level rise (SLR) information is needed for local coastal adaptation decisions. We first characterize these decisions, then identify suitable decision analysis approaches and the sea level information required, and finally discuss if and how these information needs can be met given the state of the art of sea level science.

The online version of the paper “Meeting User Needs for Sea Level Rise Information: A Decision Analysis Perspective”  is accessible here

Uncertainty representations of mean sea-level change: a telephone game?

For the long-term management of coastal flood risks, investment and policy strategies need to be developed in the light of the full range of uncertainties associated with mean sea-level rise (SLR). This, however, remains a challenge due to deep uncertainties involved in SLR assessments, many ways of representing uncertainties, and a lack of common terminology for referring to these. To contribute to addressing these limitations, this paper first develops a typology of representations of SLR uncertainty by categorising these at three levels: (i) SLR scenarios versus SLR predictions, (ii) the type of variable that is used to represent SLR uncertainty, and (iii) partial versus complete uncertainty representations. Next, it is analysed how mean SLR uncertainty is represented and how representations are converted within the following three strands of literature: SLR assessments, impact assessments, and decision analyses. We find that SLR assessments mostly produce partial or complete precise probabilistic scenarios. The likely ranges in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are a noteworthy example of partial imprecise probabilistic scenarios. SLR impact assessments and decision analyses mostly use deterministic scenarios. In conversions of uncertainty representations, a range of arbitrary assumptions are made, for example on functional forms of probability distributions and relevant confidence levels. The loss of quality and the loss of information can be reduced by disregarding deterministic and complete precise probabilistic predictions for decisions with time horizons of several decades or centuries, and by constructing imprecise probabilistic predictions and using these in approaches for robust decision-making.

The online version of this article is accesible here


An agent-based modeling for housing prices with bounded rationality

This study proposes an agent-based model to investigate major stakeholders behaviors in the housing market. The proposed model mimics the heterogeneous behaviors of individual buyers and sellers in a housing market considering bounded rationality. The simulation results of case study in Shanghai are robust and reproduce stylized facts including as volatility clustering, absence of autocorrelations, heavy tail, loss asymmetry, and aggregational gaussianity on the absolute return.

Access the full text here.

Investors’ Signals for 2°C

The targets of the Paris Agreement make it necessary to redirect finance flows towards sustainable, low-carbon infrastructures and technologies. Currently, the potential of institutional investors to help finance this transition is widely discussed. Thus, this paper takes a closer look at influence factors for green investment decisions of large European insurance companies. With a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, the importance of policy, market and civil society signals is evaluated. In summary, respondents favor measures that promote green investment, such as feed-in tariffs or adjustments of capital charges for green assets, over ones that make carbon-intensive investments less attractive, such as the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies or a carbon price. While investors currently see a low impact of the carbon price, they rank a substantial reform as an important signal for the future. Respondents also emphasize that policy signals have to be coherent and credible to coordinate expectations.

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