Alessandro Taberna joining the NAVIGATE project exchange program

by Alessandro Taberna

In Spring 2023, I had the great opportunity to spend two months at the European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE) in Milan as part of the NAVIGATE project exchange program. My experience unfolded in the unique setting of BASE, a fascinating refurbished old factory that now serves as a dynamic hub blending art, science, and various creative disciplines. Under the mentorship of Dr. Johannes Emmerling, I found myself immersed in a stimulating environment, surrounded by a community of young, passionate, and exceptionally talented researchers.

The primary objective of my research during this program was to bridge a critical gap in macroeconomic policy models: the lack of empirically sound Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) actions and their impact. Unlike climate mitigation, which functions on a global scale, climate adaptation is inherently local. This presents a significant challenge in effectively embedding these localized strategies into models designed to analyze climate and economic interactions on a global scale.

Luckily, other modeling approaches are more suitable to include bottom-up phenomena. Thus, we chose to harness the strengths of different methodologies and tackle the problem by coupling different models. While the global scale was addressed through Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) focusing on mitigation strategies, the local scale was captured using evolutionary Agent-Based Models (ABMs). Specifically, we integrated the Climate-economy Regional Agent-Based (CRAB) model I developed during my PhD with one of the most emblematic IAMs working at regional scale, the RICE50+. This innovative integration exchanged time series data through a soft-link until convergence, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of adaptation dynamics and flood damages at both micro and macro levels.

Preliminary findings from this interdisciplinary approach were promising. Comparing outputs with and without the inclusion of adaptation mechanisms revealed substantial reductions in damages, emphasizing the potential benefits of localized adaptation investments. This was further augmented by the incorporation of behavioral theories calibrated with rich survey data into the CRAB model, fostering a nuanced understanding of adaptation dynamics.

This program laid a solid foundation for integrating empirically-based, bottom-up local CCA strategies into global macroeconomic policy models. The experience extended far beyond scientific advancements. The NAVIGATE exchange program was a journey of both professional and personal growth. Interacting with diverse individuals, each dealing with climate-related issues from their perspective, not only broadened my knowledge but also deepened my appreciation of the complex impacts of global climate challenges.

In summary, my time in the NAVIGATE program has been a pivotal chapter in my professional journey, setting the stage for meaningful contributions and enhancing my grasp of the complex interplay between the climate and the economy.