Scientists estimate that under a high-emissions scenario, sea-level rise could cause economic losses of €872 billion in the EU and the UK by the end of the century
A potential rise in sea level due to climate change could cost the economies of the European Union and the United Kingdom up to €872 billion by 2100, according to a study published in the Nature group’s journal Scientific Reports. Among the regions that are expected to be greatly affected is Greece.
A research team, led by scientists from the Dutch University of Delft, in which Delft’s Greek postdoctoral researcher Theodoros Chatzivasiliadis also participates, modeled the potential economic effects of sea level rise for 271 European regions by 2100, according to a high-risk scenario. emissions and without the implementation of new coastal protection measures after 2015.
As the research team notes, “Climate change threatens economic growth worldwide, with stark disparities in accelerating risks across regions. In particular, climate-induced sea-level rise is a growing concern. Its destructive potential affects areas where productive capital and population are concentrated: coastal cities and regions. According to the data they report, over 200 million people in Europe, i.e. around 44% of the EU and UK population live within 50km of the coastline and are therefore at risk of coastal flooding. In addition, these coastal regions contribute almost 40% of Europe’s Gross Domestic Product, while 75% of Europe’s international trade volume is conducted via sea routes.
The team combined a previously developed economic model with data on the projected impacts of sea-level rise, investment trends and the distribution of economic losses caused by 155 flood events in Europe over the period 1995-2016. Estimate the potential economic losses and gains compared to a scenario with no sea level rise and 2% annual economic growth in all regions. It also modeled the impact of targeted investments in various economic sectors on regional economies after sea level rise.
Scientists estimate that under a high emissions scenario, sea level rise could cause economic losses of €872 billion in the EU and UK by the end of the century, compared to a scenario with no sea level rise.
An important finding of the study is regional differences in the economic impacts of sea-level rise: the majority of economic losses, up to 21% of regional gross domestic product by 2100, are concentrated in coastal regions, such as Veneto and Emilia-Romagna in Italy and the province of Western Pomerania in Poland. The areas expected to suffer relatively higher economic losses include Greece, as well as the Belgian coasts and western France.
As Theodoros Chatzivasiliadis explains to the Athens Agency, “economic assessments of climate damage at the national level can hide important regional differences” and adds that “using new data on climate-sensitive assets and advancing macroeconomic modeling tools, we are now able to provide more detailed analyses.” According to the figures he cites, total losses for Europe are just 1.26% of EU and UK GDP in the high-level scenario by 2100. However, in Italy national losses are 4.43%, while the decrease in productivity in the Veneto is around 20.84%.
In contrast, the researchers found that regions in the interior of Europe, such as Germany, Austria and Hungary, will show economic gains of up to 1% of regional GDP by 2100, and this could be due to the relocation of production from flooded areas. coastal inland.
Mr Chatzivasiliadis, however, is quick to point out that the regional effects may be much greater in coastal areas and some European hinterlands may see modest gains, but the economy is interconnected. “The question is: are these gains enough to offset the losses in coastal areas? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The overall effect is still negative, with some exceptions, such as Germany, where gains and losses balance to zero.”he emphasizes.
The data for Greece
In the research, Greece was analyzed at the regional level for the economic effects of sea level rise in a high emissions scenario until 2100. As Theodoros Chatzivasiliadis points out in the Athens Agency, Greece as a country is close to the European average in reducing GDP , however, shows large decreases in almost all its regions, as they are coastal. In this extreme climate scenario studied, Central Greece (-6.88%) and the northern Aegean (-6.06%) will have the greatest economic impact. In Attica, the analysis shows zero effects.
Only one region, western Macedonia, is landlocked, and there researchers expect GDP growth of around 0.87% by the end of the century, an increase driven by the region’s construction sector, which will be used to rebuild capital that it will have been destroyed throughout the country.
The construction sector is increasing everywhere in the country, except for the North Aegean region, where there is a decline. The biggest drop concerns the agricultural production sector and the public sector – about 6% of production is lost in Epirus and eastern Macedonia in both of these sectors.
The findings highlight the need for regional economic policies to address the uneven impacts of sea level rise on different regions and their economies.
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