Adaptive Responses to Climate impacts (ARC)

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Resource or Project Abstract

The project ?Adaptive Responses to Climate Impacts (ARC): Costing climate change impacts and adaptation in Ireland? was conducted jointly by University College Cork (UCC) and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. The work is funded by Ireland?s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the EPA Research Programme 2014?2020. The project focused on several interrelated factors likely to affect the efficient design and implementation of adaptation to climate change policies in Ireland. This report is an abridged summary of the outputs of the project.

Climate change is likely to cause more severe weather events in Ireland, especially the increased likelihood of more frequent severe flooding events. Flooding imposes substantial costs on governments, businesses and people. Well-planned early adaptation has been shown to save lives and money in the medium to longer term. However, designing optimal or efficient adaptation strategies is not straightforward, requiring public policy intervention as well as business and community engagement and buy-in. In this context, the project focuses on interrelated aspects likely to contribute to the design of policies for efficient adaptation to climate change.

The first aspect involves the extent to which adaptation efforts are cost-effective. This is in relation to the potential benefit of adaptation activities, viewed, as a specific case, as the avoided costs society would incur in a severe flooding event if no measures are taken. Climate change inherently poses uncertainty in relation to the expected weather events likely to affect Ireland, the extent to which different areas would be affected and the associated costs. This points to a need to improve our ability to generate realistic estimations of exposure and potential costs. The second aspect is that adaptation to climate change is not only a public policy concern but a society wide concern. Despite this, encouraging private agents to act on adaptation, as well as engage with, and support, public initiatives to adaptation remains a challenge. The third aspect involves risk management and the role of insurance as a key coping mechanisms. This is in particular regarding whether the current approach to insurance is fit for the future, and how the relationship between different stakeholders can be improved ? particularly in relation to the sharing of risk information which appears to be a key challenge for the effective management of climate risks in Ireland.

The project makes important contributions across these three themes. First, it develops and applies a methodology to estimate indirect costs of flooding, in this case for additional costs for commuters due to floods in the transport network. The focus on indirect costs is necessary because as the research shows, they can be large and are largely understudied in current approaches that mainly focus on direct costs such as damage to infrastructure and property. Failing to include indirect costs in cost estimations is likely to result in underestimation of the true benefits of adaptation. Using data from several sources with spatial modelling techniques, this project found that during a severe flooding event in Co. Galway, additional costs to commuters due to flooding on the transport network range between 10-30% of the average daily wage. When the costs are disaggregated by area (rural-urban) and by socio-economic factors, we found that even though rural areas are most affected. Indirect costs to flooding in the transport network appear to be more pronounced across lower income groups, contributing to widening inequality levels.

Second, a novel methodology is proposed to assess the extent to which locations are at risk of flooding that builds on, and improves, current approaches to estimating direct costs. Similarly to the approach proposed to estimating indirect costs, socio-economic and spatial data are combined in the econometric estimation. The methodology is applied to gather a deeper understanding of exposure to flooding in Cork, Ireland´s second largest City and to estimate its costs. We found that direct potential costs of flooding could be large as a large share of businesses are located within flood plains. In addition, recent demographic trends show that flood risk has not deterred these areas to become desirable locations for young residents. Furthermore, given the commercial characteristics of these areas, potential costs of flooding can also include jobs vulnerability.

Finally, the focus on insurance is necessary given the prominence of insurance as a key coping mechanisms against flood risks. Issues of availability and affordability of flood insurance, therefore, have been high on the research and political agenda. The project identifies two opposing arguments. On the one hand, government and users of insurance seek short-term political solutions to issues of availability and affordability, pointing to a lack of transparency on the way risks and premiums are estimated. On the other hand, insurers point to the need to improve adaptation efforts in order to lower overall risk levels. The insights of this research suggest that access to more reliable data sources and more transparent risk estimations could provide an avenue to address the short-term ?symptoms? while also encouraging addressing the ?underlying causes? of the insurance problem. Thus, a data platform is proposed.

The outputs of this research enables the research team to conclude with some policy options that may be explored. These correspond to revising and improving current estimation approaches focusing on a wide range of possibilities and not only considering the ?average impact? of climate change, while also incorporating both direct and indirect costs into these models. This should be combined with increasing transparency and availability of current data. Ultimately, adaptations efforts should seek to promote risk ownership and community participation.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Justin Doran
University College Cork

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Att 1    EPA_Final_Report.pdf   (3.17 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Doran, J.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationAdaptive Responses to Climate impacts (ARC)
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=cc0a133f-5787-11e9-8529-005056ae0019
Unique Identifiercc0a133f-5787-11e9-8529-005056ae0019
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2019-08-18

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Doran, J.   "Adaptive Responses to Climate impacts (ARC)". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=cc0a133f-5787-11e9-8529-005056ae0019 (Last Accessed: 2019-08-18)

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=3177
Resource KeywordsAdaptive Responses, Climate impacts, Galway, Cork
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2015-CCRP-DS.10
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeClimate Change
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Public-Open
Limitations on the use of this ResourceThe specific data used is owned by the CSO and cannot be made available by the project authors. People wishing to access the data should contact the CSO directly.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 1
Project Start Date Sunday 1st March 2015 (01-03-2015)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Sunday 1st March 2015 (01-03-2015)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 1st October 2018 (01-10-2018)
Published on SAFERFriday 5th April 2019 (05-04-2019)
Date of Last EditFriday 5th April 2019 at 10:53:23 (05-04-2019)
Datasets or Files Updated On Friday 5th April 2019 at 10:53:23 (05-04-2019)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
This project covered Ireland as a whole. It had case studies of Galway and Cork. The specific data used is owned by the CSO and cannot be made available by the project authors. People wishing to access the data should contact the CSO directly.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The specific data used is owned by the CSO and cannot be made available by the project authors. People wishing to access the data should contact the CSO directly. The data on commuting patterns was derived from the Census while the data on house prices was derived from the House Price Index.
Supplementary Information
None
Links To Other Related Resources
None

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