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How COACCH is steering innovative research on complex climate change impact chains

Climate change can induce large – or extremely large – environmental or socioeconomic damage, and Europe is no exception. The EU-funded COACCH project aims to produce a comprehensive assessment of the risks and costs of climate change in Europe that can be consulted directly by all major end users from the research, business, investment and policy-making community.

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The key objective of COACCH (CO-designing the Assessment of Climate CHange costs) is to develop technically excellent and innovative research on complex climate change impact chains, using downscaled climate information and advancing integrated assessment methods and models. The project has already taken an approach that proactively involves business, industrial and public decision-makers, as well as research stakeholders in the co-design, co-production and co-dissemination of policy-driven research, thus defining research questions that meet their collective interests and needs and increasing exploitation of results. Its research promises to help significantly advance the knowledge and evidence base of socioeconomic tipping points. It supports the fine balancing act that must be delicately performed in order for the EU to successfully achieve its far-reaching climate ambitions, whilst also ensuring that citizens are fully supportive of the reforms and transformation needed to achieve them. It has already posted some promising results. With regards to the European Green Deal, COACCH undertook an economic evaluation of the costs of climate change that was featured in the Green Deal factsheet ‘Costs of Inaction’, with its key messages being the fact that climate change could lead to a 20 % increase in food prices by 2050 and that the costs of heat-related mortality could amount to more than EUR 40 billion per year. Other achievements include its most recent policy brief on the economic cost of climate change in Europe that helps shape the European Commission Mission Area ‘Adaptation to climate change including societal transformation’. Another is its published 2019 paper on ‘Meeting User Needs for Sea Level Rise Information: A Decision Analysis Perspective’ in Earth’s Future that has provided support to the IPCC for the completion of its Special Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. The Horizon 2020 programme contributes directly to COACCH with a budget of nearly EUR 5 million. For more information on the project and its results, visit the dedicated COACCH website.

Keywords

COACCH, decarbonisation, climate neutrality, European Green Deal, just transition, climate change, Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals