Values and cost-benefit analysis: economic efficiency criteria in adaptation

Alistair Hunt, Timothy Taylor

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


In this chapter we explore the extent to which the measures of value incorporated incost–benefit analysis (CBA) can be utilised to guide decision-making in adapting to climate change. Our motivation derives from the fact that whilst is currently a key element in the project and policy appraisal process in a number of European sectoral contexts (for example air quality in Europe: Holland et al., 2005 ), the timescales over which climate change adaptation considerations range are beyond those normally considered in such appraisals. As a result, the assumption normally made that unit monetary values utilised in CBA should be based on current preferences and resource scarcity patterns is questionable. Using stated preference techniques Layton and Brown ( 2000 ) begin to explore this issue in the context of greenhouse gas mitigation. This chapter pursues this further in the context of adaptation to climate change. Adaptation is understood here to include the spectrum from specific actions, or options, designed to mitigate specific climate risks, to the socio-economic and cultural conditions (i.e. adaptive capacity), that facilitate adaptation to the full range of identified climate change risks. Decisions relating to the adaptation to climate change risks can then be seen to include both sectoral specific responses and those that shape social and economic development more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance
EditorsW Neil Adger, Irene Lorenzoni, Karen O'Brien
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780521764858
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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