Ignasi Cortés Arbués attending EAERE 2023 Summer School on Cascading Climate Risks and Adaptation

by Ignasi Cortés Arbués

In early July 2023, I travelled to the wineries of South Styria, in Austria, to attend the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE) 2023 Summer School, organised by the University of Graz at the Castle Seggau in the town of Leibnitz. The theme of the school was Transnational and Cascading Climate Risks and Adaptation, offering me the opportunity to directly interact with other PhD candidates and faculty members from around Europe – and beyond – working on the assessment of economic climate damages and the integration of climate change adaptation in economic assessment.

Throughout the week, I followed extensive morning lectures on diverse topics within climate economics, such as integrated assessments of climate impacts, climate-induced migration or adaptation planning for transboundary climate risks. The lecture on modelling adaptation and transmission effects using Computational General Equilibrium models was particularly relevant, as these models are the primary method I use in my research. It was quite refreshing to gather varying perspectives on the incorporation of climate change adaptation in economic assessment, as the faculty members hailed both from prestigious academic institutions like the European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE), and influential policy-making organisations like the OECD.

On the first day of the summer school, I presented some of the results of our current work, which is part of the ERC-funded SCALAR project, and focuses on the economic impacts of sea-level rise in Europe until 2100. The research has been conducted as a collaboration between our team at TU Delft, PBL The Netherlands, and colleagues at the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) in Venice.

Relative change (%) in regional GDP in the EU27 and the UK by 2100 due to sea-level rise under the SSP5-RCP8.5 (worse-case) scenario, compared to an exogenous GDP growth baseline without climate change.

Coastal regions are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, as they not only face the direct, physical burden of natural hazards, but can also incur indirect, lasting damages to their GDP as a consequence of the disruption. Through our collaboration with PBL The Netherlands, we have access to their multi-regional Computational General Equilibrium model for Europe, which is well suited to capture these effects. Our analysis highlights the importance of assessing climate-induced economic impacts at the regional level, given that the economic damages from sea-level rise are heterogeneous along the European coast. In addition, I presented sector-specific impacts for coastal and inland regions, which highlighted the need for differentiated adaptation plans at the sectoral level among European regions.

I highlighted the wineries of South Styria at the beginning of this post as they were the defining landscape of my week there. As academically enriching as the Summer School was, the social dimension of the event was a major highlight. We had the chance to visit a local winery and had a tour of the castle that hosted us, as well as a hike along the hills and a delicious dinner in a traditional Austrian Buschenschank. I certainly learnt about the importance of an inspiring environment in advancing scientific discussions.