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CO-designing the Assessment of Climate CHange costs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COACCH (CO-designing the Assessment of Climate CHange costs)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-11-30

Climate change can induce large –or extremely large– environmental and socio-economic damages. Notwithstanding the advancements produced in more than 30 years of research, the quantification of socio-economic implications still struggles with unresolved complexities. These are: the existence of complex impact chains and impact interactions; the treatment of climate and socio-economic discontinuity and of tipping points; the treatment, measurement and communication of uncertainty; the difficulty to match the macroeconomic assessments typically needed to drive mitigation with more local assessments needed to guide adaptation.

Against this background, the objectives of COACCH are:
1. To develop technically excellent and innovative research on complex climate change impact chains, using downscaled climate information and advancing integrated assessment methods and models.
2. To develop a challenge-driven and solutions-oriented research and innovation approach, involving proactively business, industrial, public decision makers and research stakeholders in the co-design, co-production and co-dissemination of policy driven research.
3. To significantly advance the knowledge and the evidence base not only on climate tipping elements, but also on socio-economic tipping points.
4. To advance the economic valuation of climate action in the EU at various scales (spatial grids, regions, countries, economic sectors) over short to longer-term timeframes.
5. To enhance innovation capacity and integration of this new knowledge using co-dissemination of results with business, industrial, public decision makers and research communities.

The synthesis policy brief from COACCH (“Knowledge synthesis and gap analysis report” - www.coacch.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/COACCH_Synthesis-Report-State-of-Knowledge_1st-draft.pdf) was cited in the work supporting the EC 2050 long-term strategy, (EC paper: In-depth analysis supporting the (COM (2018) 773)); was cited in the work supporting the Evaluation of the Adaptation Strategy, in the European Commission ‘Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change, (COM/2018/738 final) and in the supporting Staff Working Paper for the evaluation.

The most recent policy brief on results (”The Economic Cost of Climate Change in Europe: Synthesis Report on COACCH Interim Results” - www.coacch.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/COACCH-Sector-Impact-Economic-Cost-Results-22-Nov-2019-Web.pdf) has been used to support the background papers for the new RTD Mission area: “Adaptation to climate change including societal transformation”, and the policy brief was circulated to the Adaptation Mission Board members.

COACCH preliminary results are being currently included in the on-going DG CLIMA tender ”Study on Adaptation Modelling“ (CLIMA/A.3/ETU/2018/0010).

The COACCH paper “Hinkel, J., Church, J.A. Gregory, J.M. Lambert, E., Le Cozannet, G., Lowe, J., McInnes, K.L. Nicholls, R.J. Pol, T.D. Wal, R., 2019. Meeting User Needs for Sea Level Rise Information: A Decision Analysis Perspective. Earth’s Future. doi.org/10.1029/2018EF001071” provided support to the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere in a changing climate (SROCC) (IPCC, 2019).
The activity performed so far by COACCH has been to:
- establish, implement and consolidate an effective process of stakeholder engagement;
- perform and conclude the first round of sectoral climate change impact assessment for the EU that will be the basis for the following macroeconomic assessment and policy analysis;
- conceptualize, select and develop assessment methodologies for climate and social economic tipping points.

COACCH promoted the proactive participation of stakeholders from the research, business, financial, policy making and NGOs communities in all project phases.. COACCH conducted 28 bilateral stakeholder meetings in addition to the 2 regular stakeholder workshops. The stakeholder engagement: guided the selection of the combinations of climate change and socio-economic scenarios used as references in project analyses (Figure 1); guided the selection of climate and socio-economic tipping points to investigate; provided feedback on the information already produced and on that expected from the project; provided suggestions to increase the uptake of project results outside academic environments.

COACCH completed a set of sectoral studies detailing impacts in the EU on agriculture, forestry and fishery; infrastructure, built environment, and transport; industry, energy, services and trade; ecosystem and biodiversity; health. These assessments -conducted compounding different climate models, impact/process-based models or econometric techniques- specify climate change impacts with a sub-national spatial detail, going from NUTS 2 level to higher resolution and thus contribute to characterize EU climate change risks regionally.

Overall, impacts are predominantly negative, entail considerable costs already by mid-century and under climate scenarios characterized by average radiative forcing signal (RCP4.5). COACCH assessments highlight a huge intra country spatial variability of impacts and economic feedback . COACCH conceptualized, selected and started the investigation on 4 climatic tipping points (-Global extreme sea-level rise, alpine glaciers disappearance, Arctic summer ice disappearance, -Slowdown of Thermohaline circulation); and 9 socio-economic tipping points (migration, spikes in financial risk due to climate change, local collapses in crop yields, acute forced migration due to sea-level rise; exceedance of adaptation capacity for adaptation Dutch flood protection infrastructure; collapses in major EU-transport infrastructure hubs due to flood hazards, collapse of insurance markets for extreme weather risks, climate induced economic shocks; energy supply system switches).
COACCH has already produced an improved assessment of climate change impacts on EU countries accounting for sub national differentiation; developed a throughout scrutiny of tipping points introducing the novel concept of socio-economic tipping points; concluded a preliminary assessment of 5 out of 9 tipping points co-selected with stakeholders.

The analysis has been conducted within mixed combination of climatic and socio-economic pathways and used synergistically different typologies of climate and impact models. In the next phases of COACCH research, sectoral assessments will be compounded into an aggregated and integrated economic evaluation of climate change impacts applying macroeconomic and Integrated Assessment Models. An economic assessment will be performed for climate and socio-economic tipping points. These economic estimates will be the basis to study optimal climate action accounting for uncertainty and irreversibility, and to derive policy implications.

The impact of COACCH research will provide more accurate and downscaled economic valuation of climate-induced impacts and risks in Europe and decrease uncertainties on the economic value of climate action in the EU, over the longer term.

The co-design co-deliver process of stakeholder engagement, shaping the direction of the project research, the format of its output and the communication means, substantiates the third impact expected from the project: fostering greater transparency of models, methods and tools.
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Figure 1 Selected scenario combinations used in the COACCH project