Coastline with rocks and beaches and ocean

The study assessed the economic impacts of sea level rise in 271 European regions, in a scenario without new coastal protection measures and with high emissions.

On a scale of one to five, Portugal is in the second most serious position with a potential GDP reduction of between 2% and 5%, according to a new modeling study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

According to the study ” distribution of economic losses due to climate-induced sea level rise in European regions and sectors, the damage caused by sea level rise could cost the economies of the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom a total of 872 billion euros by the end of the century (1,26% of GDP), compared to a scenario without sea level rise.

The authors noted regional differences in the economic impacts of sea level rise, with the majority of economic losses – up to 21% of regional gross domestic product (GDP) by 2100 – concentrated in coastal regions such as Veneto and Emilia-Romagna in Italy and Zachodniopomorskie in Poland. Other regions likely to suffer relatively high economic losses were concentrated around the Baltic Sea, Belgian coast, western France and Greece. “Comparing an extreme scenario with a baseline scenario with no climate impact suggests a GDP loss of 1.26% for the entire EU and the UK. On the other hand, our more detailed assessments show that some coastal regions lose 9.56-20.84% of GDP, revealing notable regional disparities.”

However, the authors found that inland regions – such as Germany, Austria and Hungary – see economic gains of up to 1% of regional GDP by 2100. The authors conclude that this is due to the relocation of production from flooded coastal regions to inland regions. “Inland regions grow due to demand displaced from coastal areas, but GDP gains are small (0-1.13%),” the study notes.

The recovery benefits the construction sector, but utilities and industry face significant downturns. “Prioritizing the recovery of critical sectors at the local level reduces the massive losses of regional GDP, with negligible costs for the European economy as a whole,” the analysts underline. There is a need for region-specific adaptation policies that take into account unequal geographical impacts and unique sectoral profiles to inform the design of resilient strategies.

Ignasi Cortés Arbués, Theodoros Chatzivasileiadis, Tatiana Filatova and colleagues modeled the potential economic impacts of sea level rise in 271 European regions by 2100, in a scenario of high emissions and no new coastal protection measures implemented after 2015.

They combined a previously developed economic model with data on the predicted impacts of sea level rise, investment trends and the distribution of economic losses caused by 155 floods across Europe between 1995 and 2016.

They estimated the potential economic losses and gains compared to a scenario without sea level rise and with annual economic growth of 2% in all regions. They also modeled the impact of specific investments in different economic sectors on regional economies after sea level rise.

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