Climate change: comparative impact on developing and developed countries

Authors: Paul Chinowsky, Carolyn Hayles, Amy Schweikert, Niko Strzepek, Kenneth Strzepek & C. Adam Schlosser

Journal: Engineering Project Organization Journal

Publication Date: March 2011

Abstract: Government organizations are responsible for strategic decisions regarding the economic development of individual countries and regional areas. This decision-making process is influenced by the certainty of the information presented to government officials. One area where this decision-making influence is challenging government officials is in climate-based events. The past decade has witnessed a significant rise in the number of climate events, as well as the number of people affected by climate events. Far from being under control, evidence and long-term projections suggest that these events are climate-based rather than weather-based. In these projections, climate change is a global issue with potential impacts for every country. However, the relative impact of these events will be far different in the developed and developing worlds. As detailed in this paper, the authors examined this disparity through an analysis of 10 countries with varying income levels to determine the relative impact of climate change in the context of a single infrastructure element, paved and unpaved roads. Using the latest global climate models combined with economic and infrastructure data, the study highlights the disparity of opportunity costs between high- and low-income countries. Roads are a key element in enabling developing economy communities to have access to basic services, generate an income through agriculture and gain productive employment. The potential for road damage and the inability to invest in new road infrastructure could impact the economic stability of communities. The paper provides a quantitative introduction to these issues and the challenges presented to government organizations when considering the long-term effects of climate change.

Adaptive Climate Response Cost Models for Infrastructure

Authors: Chinowsky, P., Strzepek, K., Larsen, P., and Opdahl, A.

Journal: Journal of Infrastructure Systems

Publication Date: April 2010

Estimating future costs for Alaska public infrastructure at risk from climate change

Authors: Peter H. Larsen, Scott Goldsmith, Orson Smith, Meghan L. Wilson, Ken Strzepek, Paul Chinowsky, Ben Saylor

Journal: Global Environmental Change

Publication Date: April 2008

Abstract: This analysis reports on the projected cost of Alaska's public infrastructure at risk from rapid climate change. Specifically, we coupled projections of future climate with engineering rules of thumb to estimate how thawing permafrost, increased flooding, and increased coastal erosion affect annualized replacement costs for nearly 16,000 structures. We conclude that climate change could add $3.6-$6.1 billion (+10% to +20% above normal wear and tear) to future costs for public infrastructure from now to 2030 and $5.6-$7.6 billion (+10% to +12%) from now to 2080. These estimates take into account different possible levels of climate change and assume agencies strategically adapt infrastructure to changing conditions. In addition to implementing a risk-based economic analysis of climate change impacts, this research effort demonstrates that implementing plausible adaptation strategies could offset impacts by up to 45% over the long-run.

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