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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"The Economist" on Integrated Assessment Models

The October 5th edition of The Economist had an interesting piece on the integrated assessment models (IAMs) used to model future greenhouse gas emissions and the costs and benefits of different climate policies. It presents a range of perspectives from different economists on the utility of IAMs for policy analysis, which range from "close to useless" to the more optimistic "require sweeping changes".  

Forests, Rangelands and Climate Change in Southern Africa

The FAO has released a working paper on links between forest and rangeland management and climate change in southern Africa. The paper identifies potential impacts on climate change on forests and rangelands as well as their subsequent implications for the livelihoods of people in the region that are dependent upon such ecosystems goods and services. It also emphasizes the need for adaptation to be integrated within other economic development activities that realize benefits beyond climate risk reduction.

Adaptation in the Australian Primary Industries

New work from the Primary Industries Adaptation Research Network of Australia's National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility reviews recent research on adaptation within Australia's primary industries. The report notes that much of the research pertinent to the topic of adaptation in the primary industries is "highly fragmented and often difficult to identify," and it makes a number of recommendations for improving understanding of adaptation from both the the biophysical and social science perspectives.

Economics of Climate Change in East Asia

A new study from the Asian Development Bank takes an integrated view of the economics of greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation in East Asian countries by exploring how strategies for climate adaptation over the next few decades can be integrated with greenhouse mitigation efforts.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Barriers to Adaptation in Action

On October 1, reforms to the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) took effect. Those reforms were initiated by Congress in 2012 due the growing hole that insurance subsidies were digging in the federal budget and they seek to eliminate the subsidies to property owners by setting insurance premiums at rates that reflect the actual risk. This comes after many years of criticism of the NFIP for incentivizing development in at-risk areas and generally creating a moral hazard at the public's expense. Now that the reforms have been implemented, property owners (along with real estate agents) are up in arms at the increase in their insurance premiums and lobbying has already commenced in earnest to get Congress to delay implementation. Apparently, even one of the co-sponsors of the legislation, Rep. Maxine Waters is now lamenting the "outrageous" increase in premiums triggered by the reforms. Yet, it seems like those increases are, in fact, exactly what the reforms were designed to achieve. Delaying them would only seem to delay the behavioral change needed to enable a more equitable distribution of risk.