Physical and economic consequences of climate change in Europe

J C Ciscar, A Iglesias, L Feyen, L Szabo, D Van Regemorter, B Amelung, R Nicholls, P Watkiss, O B Christensen, R Dankers, L Garrote, C M Goodess, Alistair Hunt, A Moreno, J Richards, A Soria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

314 Citations (SciVal)


Quantitative estimates of the economic damages of climate change usually are based on aggregate relationships linking average temperature change to loss in gross domestic product (GDP). However, there is a clear need for further detail in the regional and sectoral dimensions of impact assessments to design and prioritize adaptation strategies. New developments in regional climate modeling and physical-impact modeling in Europe allow a better exploration of those dimensions. This article quantifies the potential consequences of climate change in Europe in four market impact categories (agriculture, river floods, coastal areas, and tourism) and one nonmarket impact (human health). The methodology integrates a set of coherent, high-resolution climate change projections and physical models into an economic modeling framework. We find that if the climate of the 2080s were to occur today, the annual loss in household welfare in the European Union (EU) resulting from the four market impacts would range between 0.2-1%. If the welfare loss is assumed to be constant over time, climate change may halve the EU's annual welfare growth. Scenarios with warmer temperatures and a higher rise in sea level result in more severe economic damage. However, the results show that there are large variations across European regions. Southern Europe, the British Isles, and Central Europe North appear most sensitive to climate change. Northern Europe, on the other hand, is the only region with net economic benefits, driven mainly by the positive effects on agriculture. Coastal systems, agriculture, and river flooding are the most important of the four market impacts assessed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2678-2683
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Early online date31 Jan 2011
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2011


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